Wednesday 18 July 2012

Secondary school students to get lessons on legal issues

By Sharon See, Channel NewsAsia, 16 Jul 2012 

The Law Society of Singapore on Monday launched an initiative, Project Schools, to bring legal knowledge into classrooms.

It is collaborating with 13 secondary schools to teach students the legal implications of offences such as cyber bullying and illegal money-lending.

The lessons are split into five modules and will cover topics like Know The Law, Gangs and Rioting, Domestic Violence, Cyber Offences and Illegal Moneylending.

The Law Society said response for its pilot programme, which was conducted at Xinmin Secondary and Yishun Town Secondary, has been good.

Andrew Soon, a Secondary 3 student at Yishun Town Secondary School, said: "The lessons were very interesting. There were many activities involved, such as skits, there are also a lot of videos to show us real-life accounts. There're a lot of group work and discussions so we can interact."

Teachers, who have undergone training workshops with the Law Society, will conduct the lessons.

Mr Louis Pang, Subject Head (Arts) at Yishun Town Secondary School, said: "We have to water down some of the materials given because there's so much law jargon. So we had to make the worksheets more accessible to the students and more user-friendly. We used drama, group discussions and even songs by popular artists to help introduce lessons to the kids."

Local law firm Rajah & Tann is sponsoring the Project Schools initiative to the tune of S$200,000 until the end of 2013.

The programme will also be offered to 11 other schools.

The Law Society is hoping that Project Schools will create a greater awareness of the law.

Leo Cheng Suan, vice president of The Law Society of Singapore, said: "One of the tasks of the Law Society is to promote law awareness. All of us are presumed to know the law and ignorance of the law is not an excuse. But unfortunately, a lot of people do not know where to find the law.

"In this age of the internet -- with Google, Statutes Online and Legal Workbench -- you can just find the law very easily. So it is very easy for the students to find the law. And we think that with Project Schools, all students will learn how to Google, learn how to research the law and find the law. It is not that difficult anymore."

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education, Sim Ann, added: "Project Schools marks a new chapter in the Law Society's history of creating and heightening awareness of the law. This programme is expected to have a multiplier effect within our community.

"By alerting our students to day-to-day situations in which they may unwittingly break the law, and how they can be of assistance to loved ones and friends, the positive impact will be felt not just by the students and teachers, but also the community that they live in."

Ms Sim Ann also said that she hopes more schools will come on board to join the project.

The Law Society is hoping to reach out to at least 7,000 students in secondary schools and other educational institutes. It also hopes to include other topics in future, such as sexual offences, and drugs and substance abuse.

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