Multicultural diversity a priority in education systems: IALEI

Multicultural diversity a priority in education systems: IALEI

Date
Friday, 08 October 2010

Media Type
Today online

SINGAPORE - A global think tank on education has recommended that countries do more to make multicultural diversity a priority in their education systems.

Areas like teacher education, curriculum development, and education policy and research are some areas that need to address the growth of multiculturalism worldwide, said the International Alliance of Leading Education Institutes (IALEI), a group of ten institutes, including Singapore's National Institute of Education.

The researchers argued that with increasing migration and mobility of people, children need to develop intercultural capabilities. With influx of immigrants, "populations have to think about living in harmony in society," said Professor Yoon Hiwon of Seoul National University, who chaired IALEI's research team this year.

Sharing how Singapore's teacher training system has equipped teachers to handle greater diversity, NIE Associate Professor Rahil Ismail said "good structures and foundations" are in place to promote multicultural thinking and understanding here, but they could be further built on to deal with "new differences in society".

"We tend to think of multiculturalism as only dealing with race, ethnicity and culture, and they are indeed that - it's fundamentally important," she said. "But we also need to think now in terms of new groups of differences that exist in our society."

NIE's multicultural studies programme, which all trainee teachers undergo, aims to add on to knowledge gleaned from primary and secondary school education, said Associate Professor Rahil, the programme's co-coordinator. "Teachers are at the forefront of everything we want in society...we can suggest ways of thinking differently about issues (students) presume they know."

Source: Today online, mediacorp