I REFER to “Military school, to curb delinquency” (Dec 6).
A military school will not meet the needs of our society, and will only result in us fighting fires as opposed to preventing them.
As part of my full-time National Service in 2002, I served as an instructor in the now-defunct Singapore Armed Forces Education Centre (SAFEC), the successor to the SAF Boys’ School.
SAFEC was an alternative educational pathway for the boys – not an institute to reform delinquent children per se.
The stories which many of the boys told me always had the same root cause: physically- or emotionally-absent parents.
The lack of parental guidance and supervision resulted in the wayward behaviour of the boys and therefore, their inability to focus on their studies.
This led to a vicious cycle of poor academic performance and further waywardness, resulting in them having to choose SAFEC over other less desirable options.
Hence, I agree with Mr Chua that the root cause of poor parenting is due to parental cluelessness and/or irresponsibility and should be dealt with in a commensurate and progressive manner as follows:
- First, we as members of our individual communities need to take it upon ourselves to correct inappropriate behaviour, both on the parts of the parents we know, as well as their children.
- Next, the ethnic and/or religious communities we belong to must step up to the plate by working with parents to implement parental-training clinics to instill appropriate values and understanding in our parents and parents-to-be.
- Last but not least, the government can consider instituting compulsory, co-paid parental-training programmes via the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. While tax-payers need to acknowledge the sacrifice that parents make to contribute to our Total Fertility Rate, parents also need to acknowledge that their children are a responsibility that must not be shirked.
With these measures, youth will be placed on the right path from the onset, thereby removing some part of the present and future burden of having to “steer juvenile delinquents back to the right path”.
Laremy LEE (Mr)
(Published as “Put youth on the right path via parental involvement” on 8 Dec 2011 in TODAY.)