Mr Leon Perera asked the Minister for Education (a) whether he can provide an update on the inclusion of content relating to animal welfare in the Character and Citizenship education syllabus; (b) what have been the findings from the introduction of this teaching element in terms of student engagement and impact; and (c) whether this teaching element makes reference to recent cases of animal cruelty.
The Minister of State for Education (Ms Gan Siow Huang) (for the Minister for Education): Mdm Deputy Speaker, animal welfare is incorporated into subjects such as Character and Citizenship Education (CCE), Social Studies and Science. The contexts used to discuss such issues are regularly refreshed to include contemporary examples.
At the primary level, students learn about responsibility and care towards animals, including responsible pet ownership. Students at secondary and pre-university levels learn about making a positive difference to social and environmental issues including animal welfare. Some students have embarked on Values-In-Action Projects that contribute towards animal welfare and even started interest groups to promote animal welfare.
Mdm Deputy Speaker: Mr Leon Perera.
Mr Leon Perera (Aljunied): Thank you, Mdm Deputy Speaker. I thank the Minister of State for her reply. A few supplementary questions. One is, does this curriculum also educate children about the penalties associated with acts of animal cruelty and what recourse they have if they witness acts of animal cruelty? Secondly, does the curriculum afford opportunities for students to interact with animals and, say, shelter or other kinds of settings where they can have some actual interactions with groups that are promoting animal welfare and advocating against cruelty to animals?
Ms Gan Siow Huang: I thank the Member for the two supplementary questions. Our teachers do incorporate useful information, including the impact of committing offences related to animal cruelty. On working with the community, our schools do have choices to work with community partners. I think we all understand that safeguarding the welfare of animals is indeed a shared responsibility, something that our schools endeavour to do together with parents and community partners.
Ministry of Education
9 May 2023