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Chan Chun Sing limits his Instagram comments amid MOE’s Israel-Hamas education backlash

Minister Chan Chun Sing seemingly limited comments on his Instagram amidst backlash over MOE’s Gaza conflict education. Turning to his Facebook page, some netizens question why parents were not involved or consulted when MOE was planning the CCE lessons.



SINGAPORE: Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Education, appears to have restricted comments on his official Instagram account amid the Ministry of Education (MOE) facing parental backlash over the education content related to the Gaza conflict.

Recently, online criticism emerged concerning the Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) lessons provided by MOE on the conflict.

An open letter published last Friday (23 February) in the ‘Suara Melayu Singapura‘ Facebook group articulates deep concerns from parents regarding the portrayal and teaching of these issues in primary and secondary schools.

The teaching has been criticized for lacking accurate historical narration of events related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There are accusations that students attempting to correct misinformation are allegedly being disregarded, silenced, or, in some cases, met with punishment.

Some online criticisms also claim that teachers are restricted from offering additional insights beyond the prescribed curriculum.

This led MOE to respond to social media critique earlier and defend its balanced teaching on the conflict, emphasizing empathy and critical thinking in lessons, despite concerns over content neutrality and historical depth.

During a media interview on Sunday (25 Feb), Minister Chan responded to parents’ concerns, defending that the CCE is specifically designed to prompt students to reflect on how to uphold cohesion and harmony in a multiracial society.

He clarified that the class is not intended to function as a history lesson nor to assign blame to any party involved, aiming instead to cultivate a culture where students learn to respond responsibly.

This involves understanding their own emotions, contemplating how to preserve cohesion and harmony, and verifying information sources before responsibly sharing them.

However, it is noteworthy that his media response did not specifically address parents’ concerns about the alleged suppression of alternative viewpoints on the Gaza conflict.

While Mr Chan shared his latest media interview on his official Instagram account, also shared by MOE, it is noteworthy that his post limits subsequent comments as of Monday (26 Feb) at noon.

MOE criticised for failure to engage parents on CCE lesson content

Noticing that comments are still being posted on Mr Chan’s Instagram account despite later limitations, some netizens are questioning why parents were not involved or consulted when MOE was planning the CCE lessons.

Another netizen expressed appreciation for the efforts of MOE, relevant ministries, school leaders, and educators in helping children process their emotions and thoughts amid global complexities.

However, she wished for more engagement with parents as partners in education, especially since character and citizenship education should not solely be left to schools.

She emphasized that parents also have a responsibility to guide their children in making sense of the complex world.

A detailed letter penned by an Instagram user to the minister highlighted concerns about the stifling of discussion and underscored the vital role of open discourse in combating ignorance and preserving a robust democracy.

The user argued, “Discourse and public discussion wiill only serve to unify us, make us grow closer together and remind us that difference is opinions between our fellow man is not greater than our country, our land, our flag. ”

The comment strongly asserted that hindering discourse will lead to a growing distance among people, allowing imagination to form opinions based on stereotypes, even when there has been no direct conversation with fellow citizens.

Netizens turn to Minister’s Chan Facebook account to express dissent over CCE lesson

Netizens also voice dissent on Minister Chan’s Facebook, expressing disagreement with the controversial CCE lesson.

One comment highlights the importance of truthful education for the younger generation, suggesting a call to action for parents to write in and sign a petition to eliminate the CCE lesson.

A comment criticized the portrayal of decades of oppression, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and other alleged crimes without acknowledging them as wrong.

“The more you try to conceal the truths, the more they’ll surface anyway. We’ve seen that through the years with the occupation forces in Palestine.”

“Hope to see more clarity and truth in the amended content, if this carries on.”

Backlash against CCE lessons

MOE’s CCE lesson, initiated in February this year, is designed to cover contemporary issues, including the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Despite the one-hour lesson constraint and the time needed to prepare resources, the curriculum only covers developments from 7 October up to December 2023.

This period has seen significant escalations, with international calls for action growing as civilian casualties rise.

Recent developments include a world court order in January for Israel to prevent acts of genocide in its operations against Hamas in Gaza and three United Nations Security Council draft resolutions for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, vetoed primarily by the United States.

In its defence, the MOE stated that its lessons aim to provide a safe environment for students to comprehend the complexities of the situation and form their own opinions. The curriculum includes discussions on various contemporary issues, such as casual racism, mental well-being, and other global conflicts like the Russia-Ukraine war.

However, some educational materials have come under scrutiny for omitting critical information.

Lesson slides include a brief summary of key events in the Israel-Palestine conflict since 1948 and a summary of Hamas, highlighting its non-recognition of Israel’s right to exist.

Notably absent were mentions of Israel’s non-recognition of a Palestinian state and recent accusations against Israel of committing acts of genocide against Palestinians.

One unhappy parent shared how she had to show the child the background of the conflict, all the way back to Nakba – the mass displacement and dispossession of some 430,000 Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, and how the child is being confused by the information presented by MOE.

The omission of crucial data, particularly around Israel’s blatant disregard for human lives in Gaza, has sparked debate among parents and the public, with some questioning MOE’s portrayal of Israel in the lessons for the children.

The Gaza Health Ministry reported on 21 February that since the war began on 7 October, a total of 69,333 people have been injured in Gaza, in addition to 29,313 deaths.

The final death toll from the 7 October attack by Hamas is now estimated to be 695 Israeli civilians, including 36 children, as well as 373 security forces and 71 foreigners, totalling 1,139 casualties.

It is important to note that some of the fatalities on 7 October were from Israeli forces; for example, an Israeli helicopter opened fire on Israelis at a festival as Hamas fighters were hiding among the crowd.

Additionally, the Hannibal Directive, a policy of the Israeli military, mandates that no hostage should be taken, authorizing lethal force against its own citizens and forces to prevent such situations.

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Don’t blame him, he is just too worry about the sheeps during the war and that there be no cotten if they are all killed. Wait, there something wrong in the above.

Aiyoh, angry parents million$ minister also cannot handle. And to think his Kayu Boss had considered him to be PM-material too. The sad state of the pappies, indeed.

He is just as complicit. Knowing your boss gog around trying to enslave future Generation and he did nothing nor voice out!!!!

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CCS: CCE lesson is to foster respect for diverse views
Also CCS: Turns off comments so that diverse views cannot be expressed on his account, showing a total lack of respect for those views.

War mongers and their views? They can’t even admit their mistakes when they make one. No?!?

ForeSEE the Singapore government will allow Israel-Gaza discussion and held rally at the Speakers’ Corner soon.

No Blaming Culture excuse has simply been upgraded to No Public Commenting excuse. Always the easy way out for them.

Sia Suay means sia suay, hor.

Got the balls just stick to his guns and tell these tudung and goatie parents to go fuck off. The country would not have progress to this stage if they had to please such Islamic shit and worse, as the country was already kicked out by those Islamic bums in the 60s, which was a blessing. Like I said, this is small shit issue, if LKY had the balls then, he would have BANNED Islam as a practice long ago here just like what Netherland did, the country which I am sure you Sinkie leaders try to emulate what Netherland… Read more »

CCS makes a boo boo whichever ministry hes in.
Now lets see where Loong transfers him to….