God sneaks into our classrooms

Lim Say Liang

In 2005, after complaints from the public, the Ministry of Education (MOE) rapped the knuckles of teachers who openly proselytize in class: “’The MOE takes a firm stand on religious proselytising by teachers,” the statement said. “Our schools are secular, and teachers should not be engaged in proselytizing their students. Otherwise we face a real risk of undoing the multicultural and multi-religious sensitivity and harmony that Singapore has built up over the years, and which our schools seek to cultivate in each new generation….”

But that hasn’t stopped some teachers from trying an end-around. Who knows exactly where coursework ends and proselytising begins? What if proselytisation looks like coursework?

Michelle (not her real name) was given two comprehension passages last year when she was in Secondary 2. The first was a National Geographic article about individuals obsessed with the Loch Ness Monster. The questions her English teacher drew up were not out of the ordinary. (The Loch Ness Monster has been used in Evangelical Christian curriculums as evidence that disproves evolution.)

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