Concerns about what schools are teaching about the conflict in Gaza surfaced in February, with some online posts claiming that students were presented with a narrative that was not neutral or objective.

It prompted the Education Minister to address the issue, explaining on Feb 25 that the CCE lessons on the Israel-Hamas conflict are designed to help students reflect on how to safeguard cohesion and harmony in a multiracial society.

They are not intended to be history lessons nor are they meant to ascribe who is right or wrong, Mr Chan said, a point he reiterated in parliament on Mar 4.

Mr Chan said on Tuesday that it would take Singapore time to reach a stage where it can respond to crises as one united country. 

“But to do that, we have to first understand and appreciate that we are very different. We have different backgrounds, we have different perspectives. And while we may be different in our outlook and perspectives, we can all share the same goal to unite and not let others divide us,” he added.

Mr Leong said that the PSP is “not particularly against” any topics raised in CCE lessons, “as long as there is a defined process”. 

“Every time we raise questions that may not be in line with what the government wants, we are always accused of being divisive. In this case, Minister of Education just said that we are not being united.

“But I think what we are trying to do here … from the response the minister has given to us on this issue, does it reflect enough transparency and also clarity on the process of how the materials are being decided?” 

Mr Chan replied: “Please do not twist our words. I have never accused anyone in this House of being divisive.” 

Instead, Mr Chan said he meant that there are differing views in Singapore’s population, and CCE lessons are meant to help people understand and respect those differences. 

Ms Poa also asked how many schools have organised dialogue sessions since Mr Chan said in March that MOE would rather meet with parents or members of the public face-to-face and explain how the slides are used. 

So far, some schools have received such requests, although most schools have not. The ones that received requests have engaged parents on the matter, said the Education Minister.

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