By Shuli Sudderuddin
Teachers will get a new tool to help them foster integration between local and overseas students.
It comes in the form of a book, called The Best Practices Package, whose content includes orientation and induction programmes as well as developing social networks.
The package was launched yesterday by Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Education, at the inaugural Symposium on Integration in Schools.
The event, organised by the National Integration Working Group for Schools, lets schools share ideas and best practices on integration.
Said Ms Fu in her speech: 'While social integration is a national imperative, it is also about preparing our children for a globalised world.
'Fostering inter-cultural skills and a global perspective must begin in school, where students from all walks of life can share common experiences, learn to relate to one another and form life-long friendships.'
Speaking to journalists later, she said children do not care what race, religion or culture their friends belong to.
'I think that's precisely the point that we think social integration can take place, and can take place well,' she said.
Republic Polytechnic is cited in The Best Practices Package for its integration activities. IT school student Nguyen Mai Huong, 20, who is from Vietnam, helped organise an international student festival and concert at the polytechnic.
She got involved after her international friends said they had difficulties interacting with Singaporeans.
Ms Kanaga Ramu, 20, a Singaporean and hospitality school student who worked with her, said: 'Before the festival, I usually kept to myself and local friends in and after class. Now, I've got to know so many international students and it's so much more comfortable.'
This article was first published in The Straits Times.