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Zakaria Abdul Wahab
Almost half of the 136 Singaporean youths arrested for loan sharking and related harassment activities in the city-state for the past year were students, according to Education Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen.
He said this in a written reply to a question in the current 11th sitting of the Singapore Parliament here.
Dr Ng was asked what action his ministry was taking to prevent Singapore schoolchildren from being lured into working as runners for loan sharks.
Saying the reasons for schoolchildren being lured into working for such activities were complex, the minister said parents must take responsibility to monitor the after-school activities of their children and know who their children were interacting with.
This, he noted, was to provide timely guidance to their children.
Dr Ng said, although it was the responsibility of parents to mould their children’s character, schools could play a complementary reinforcing role in this respect.
He said the ministry continued to work with the police to raise awareness at school-level through road shows at schools and the provision of advisories.
Schools raised awareness of their students to illegal activities through the formal curriculum and a variety of character development and life-skills programmes to teach them to discern right from wrong, he said.
The action taken by schools included counselling and support, and as a last resort, disciplinary measures, the minister added.