What does social inclusion mean to Singaporeans? A qualitative study of the concept of social inclusion
How do Singaporeans understand and define the concept of social inclusion?
The Purple Parade, an annual event in Singapore to support societal inclusion of people with special needs, is held during October. According to the official UNESCO definition, social inclusion describes a ‘society for all in which every individual, each with rights and responsibilities, has an active role to play’. But how exactly do Singaporeans view the concept of social inclusion? A/P Marcus Chiu (formerly from the NUS Department of Social Work) and his co-researchers contextualize their study by looking at this term in Chinese and Malay and recognizing that there is no exact match for the term ‘social inclusion’ despite there being many very similar terms.
Chiu et al conducted seven focus group discussions involving 51 participants from different walks of life, including social workers, social work students, the elderly, youth leaders, and those requiring mental health services. Focus groups participants were asked to write down how they define social inclusion. The researchers identified two major themes – the components of social inclusion and ways to improve social inclusion. Overall, the right to housing, education, healthcare, employment, and community integration emerged as some of the key components that constitute social inclusion. They also felt that the government, rather than social communities, is responsible for improving social inclusion.
This study, ‘What does social inclusion mean to Singaporeans? A qualitative study of the concept of social inclusion’, was published in 2016 in the Asia Pacific Journal of Social Work and Development.
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