Moving to

I'm moving to Mostly.

I plan to use that site as a "self-marketing website" of sorts and to manage content in a way that I would otherwise not be able to do on blogger alone.

This blog will stay, ostensibly for more provisional ideas prior to refinement. I'll be gradually moving content (I still like) over to the other website. =)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Creating a Support Structure for the Poor

I just read The Malay Underclass, an essay by some final year students from NTU about the socio-economic challenges facing lower income Malays.

(Actually, I realize I forgot to post this from some time ago.)

I believe that we can provide an additional support structure for low-income families. Let me describe what I have in mind. It all begins with the schools. I propose that primary and secondary schools provide additional tuition to kids from low-income families for most days of the school week (all for primary school kids). Meals should be provided (lunch and dinner). This allows the parents to work to support their families while their kids are under supervision. For the older kids (sec 1 and above), they should not be going through "tuition" every day, but rather, helping out at the sessions for the younger children.

Thus, kids from low-income families will be learning under some supervision and learning responsibility. The younger ones will have role models to look up to. Given this, it is far more likely that these children will be able to achieve better educational outcomes and learn some life skills that will stand them in good stead when it comes to tertiary education and the working world. In addition, those who are going through tertiary education should volunteer a few days a month to help out as well. I think of this as a socially meaningful form of "national service", but one where Kids first receive "full time" care and then come back as "reservists" to pay it forward. Furthermore, each kid gets a concrete sense that he/she is doing good for someone else. (To reinforce this, the parents of kids under full time care should be asked to attend a biannual ceremony to thank the teachers and students who have given up time and energy to help out in the program.)

Perhaps with programs like that in place, we can provide better and more effective support for low income families. In time, hopefully the program will no longer be necessary. Eventually only being preserved in the fond memories of graduates of the program who remember how their seniors paid it forward.

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