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Tweaks To DSA Will Not Fix Fundamental Disparities

The latest round of tweaks to the Direct School Admission (DSA) scheme – making applications free of charge and centralising the online submission of applications (TODAY, Nov. 7) – will not fix more fundamental disparities between students and the families they come from. Furthermore these changes, and how they have been communicated thus far, are not helped by the lack of more precise data and information on the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the students who benefit from the DSA: The employment status of their parents, their housing type and household income, and perhaps even their primary schools (and how they were admitted). Continue reading

Test, Evaluate, And Validate Teaching Guidelines To Spot Fake News

Absent from the latest new media literacy toolkit designed for schools ranging from the primary to junior college level (TODAY, Nov. 2) and its teaching guidelines to spot falsehoods – and in fact, from the forthcoming, broader national framework to build information and media literacy too – appears to be robust research attempts to evaluate the effectiveness of these endeavours. Immediate questions which follow include: The extent to which teachers are familiar with and have the capacity to teach the toolkit; how students benefit from the teaching resource; and ultimately whether teachers and students, beyond the context of the classroom, actually put their skills and knowledge into practice. Continue reading

Poor Consultation And Communication At Heart Of Hawker Centre Fracas

Given the “allegations of poor management practices as well as high rentals and auxiliary costs at social enterprise-run hawker centres” (TODAY, Oct. 20), this excellent piece of reporting gets to the crux of the fracas: Poor and non-representative consultation, when policy ideas are gathered and submitted to the government; as well as fragmented or non-existent communication between hawkers and the operators of these social enterprise-run hawker centres, which means the hawkers – as issues have surfaced and events have unfolded in recent weeks – have to rely on public or social media outrage for changes to be made. The final points about how food items ought to be priced as well as how the needs of low-income Singaporeans and that of the hawkers, which are tied to the persistent perception that “cheap” food should be the norm, are important too, but are less likely to be addressed in the near future. Continue reading

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