Social Studies guidebook with controversial content not MOE-approved textbook

Should it be pulled off the shelf?

By Belmont Lay | March 14, 2018

The Secondary 3 Social Studies guidebook that has triggered Singaporeans is not on the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) approved textbook list, MOE confirmed on Wednesday, March 14.

Sec 3 Social Studies guide: Speak Singlish, play in HDB estate show low socio-economic status

Photos of a page from the book has been widely shared on Facebook as the content has been criticised for its description of people with “lower SES”, which stands for “Socio-Economic Status”.

The guidebook, Complete Guide to GCE O-Level Social Studies Volume 1, is published by MarketAsia Books. It defined SES as a factor “that shapes a person’s identity”.

A list of personal choices purportedly undertaken by someone with lower SES included “using Singlish or different dialects in daily conversation”, playing “sports like soccer or basketball” at local HDB estates, “eating at hawker centres or at home” and youths who take “on part-time jobs during vacation” to meet “basic family needs”.

MOE response

In response to the backlash, MOE said the book is “not on the Ministry of Education’s Approved Textbook List”.

“Commercial learning materials approved by MOE will bear the Ministry’s stamp of approval on their front cover or inside the book,” it added.

This is in line with what MOE has said on its website regarding approved textbooks.

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About Belmont Lay

Belmont can pronounce "tchotchke".

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