新加坡的政治教育

1. 以下文章刊於是日海峽時報

2. 討論焦點在於應否在學校教授世界不同政制.

3. 出發點在於學生的政治冷感, 想從中燃起他們的政治興趣.

4. 有兩個有趣的問題因而衍生出來:

  • 為什麼學生那樣政治冷感?
  • 為什麼不想學生再政治冷感?

5. 第一個問題不難回答, 徵結在於政府過度管制, 大大限制社會發展.

第一個層次可見於校園管理. 學生會被嚴正聲明不能搞事, 否則, 閣下前途閣下自理. 刊於星期日明報的"將臨的起義"–一篇描述歐洲左翼最新思想的文章, 在這裡顯然會被禁. 那即是說, 學生可接觸的讀物都非常和諧; 那如何可以期望他們可以對政事有興趣?

第二個層次, 在於政府論述. 李光耀曾言, 如果一架載滿新加坡官的飛機墜毀, 那麼新加坡就完了; 暗示只有最醒目的人才可以工作於政府. 而政府一直以只需短短四十年, 便將新加坡由窮國轉化成人人爭相仿效的經濟強國為傲; 聽得久了, 大家就視之為常識, 放心地把大事小事交給政府打理, 自己專心掘金去也.

第三個層次, 見於這裡的文化. 這裡有5c之說 (cash, condonium, club membership, car, credit card), 而且在政府高舉勝者為王(meritocracy)的旗幟下, 大家都很怕輸. 曾聽說一個故事. 有國際大酒店公司在坡培訓酒店管理人員; 及後, 那些學員卻沒有酒店請. 原因? 是因為他們在面試時被問到: “你肯先由boy仔做起嗎?" “當然不, i am trained to be a manager", 愛贏愛面子的程度大概如此. 既然愛贏, 而嬴的準則大概不離5C, 加之多口干預政治就贏不了, 為什麼還要對政治有興趣?

6. 那為什麼要增加學生對政治的興趣? 潛台詞顯然是政府要成功, 並不能只靠one man band, 而需要各方配合. 有個學者Weiss, 曾提出管治互賴的概念(governance interdependence). 她打的比喻就是: 想像一個國家式或一個城市就如一支足球隊, 充其量政府就只能是個中場, 其他位置如前鋒, 後衛就只能靠ngo, 私人企業等.大家合作順暢, 才能有好賽果. 那為private public partnership (PPP) 下了註腳; 那也解釋坡政府為何近年口風一轉, 說政府與坡民同坐一條反船, 同一team, 因此大家要積極留意社會大事, 向政府進言. 增加學生政治興趣, 便是沿自這個思路.

7. 引伸的道理大概有兩個:

l   總是鼓吹社會和諧, 即大家齊齊收聲聽政府話的人, 可以反思這麼一種思維是否務實地有利於一個城市或國家.

l   如何末才可以令學生有政治熱情? 似乎先要條件是言論自由—即使代價是眾聲喧嘩, 不勝其煩. 但除非推翻了governance interdependence 之說, 若不, 眾聲喧嘩還是值得包容.



Your Insights
LAST week, we asked readers if they favoured the idea of teaching comparative political systems in schools. We also asked for their thoughts on how it should be taught, what should be included in the syllabus, and what its final objectives should be.
Of the 10-plus responses, many supported the idea, provided it is carried out in a non-partisan fashion. Those who opposed it said the current school system already teaches comparative political systems, and that students are already overloaded with school work.
Readers also gave suggestions on how it could be implemented. Some proposed that it should be taught to secondary school students, and that the syllabus should be approved by both the ruling People’s Action Party and the opposition parties.
Here is a sampling of the responses:
‘Political apathy can hardly be addressed through education – especially since too many of us focus on rote learning rather than active learning. That said, we cannot dismiss the usefulness of education in our attempt to create a politically active citizenry…However, this will work only if it goes hand in hand with greater freedom on the societal level. Only then will students recognise the applicability of this knowledge in the future.’
Ms Rachel Wong, via e-mail
‘I favour the idea of teaching comparative political systems in school. As a student, I have observed how my peers have no regard for the political system in our country. I feel this current schooling generation has lived in political stability and, hence, does not see the need to engage in politics and open its mind to other political regimes.’
Ms Esther Dawes, via SMS
‘I’m a year two junior college student. I am in favour of comparative political systems being taught in schools. Many students are apathetic towards politics and I feel that such a course could evoke their interest in politics and allow them to be more informed. I agree that such a course may be exploited by educators as they impose their political views on their students. Such a course should not be integrated with any form of national education, because this can make it very propaganda-like.’
Ms Sharyn Soh, via e-mail
‘I do not favour the idea of teaching comparative political systems as there are already so many subjects being taught in schools. There are also many students who are struggling with their studies. However, to make students interested in politics, there can be newspaper-reading sessions in school. Teachers can facilitate discussions regarding various issues among the students.’
Ms Normarlina Mohamed Taib, via e-mail
‘Yes, it should be taught only by teachers trained in the subject matter. It can be taught at all levels, with subject content in accordance to the curriculum level. The basic syllabus should include an introduction to political systems, philosophies and societies, and the systems by which a state is governed based on culture, location and resources.’
Mr Luke Subhas, via e-mail
‘If ever such a course is to be introduced in schools, I hope it will cover various aspects of human rights, especially pertaining to rights to food, shelter, education and access to water, and rights of a child. Aspects of the Asean Charter should also be covered. Educate our children to respect the rights of other human beings first at the most basic level before they try to understand the complexities of different political systems. Knowledge is useless if their moral compass is pointed in the wrong direction.’
Mr Chris Lee, via e-mail

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