By GRAZIA Singapore

How School Of Concepts’ Mint Lim Is Making Education Inclusive For Every Child

Education entrepreneur Mint Lim is making sure no child is left behind with her inclusive education outfit School of Concepts
Illustration: Barbarian Flower

Every issue, GRAZIA Singapore highlights a Game Changer, who inspires, educates, and celebrates individuality, beauty and style. This month, meet Mint Lim, the founder of inclusive education outfit School of Concepts and the first Singaporean fellow in the Cartier Women’s Initiative

As a society, we pride ourselves on being progressive and inclusive. It is essential to address the complex social gap that marginalises children from low‑income families or those with learning differences. I’m an advocate for equity in education. As a dyslexic myself, I believe that inclusive classrooms, where differences are embraced, should be the norm. Only then can we prep the next generation to become future‑ready, because the future is a world with an increased human population and likely less space; to survive, one would need to learn to live with others, others who may be different. By bridging this gap to level the playing field, we can empower marginalised children with the necessary tools to succeed academically and build a brighter future, ensuring that no child is left behind.

Personally, I’m no stranger to being left behind. Since kindergarten, learning to read was a challenge for a dyslexic like me. I was often confused and misunderstood. I regained my confidence when l learnt to “uncode” the language through the help of my mother and teachers. I went on to an elite school, but there, amongst the many bright young ladies, I felt left behind. I felt like I didn’t belong because everyone was eloquent, spoke with fluent and beautiful accents, and were naturals at socialising. I, on the other hand, spoke (in fluent English) with a distinct Singlish accent and was awkward at socialising because something as simple as making eye contact was daunting. My confidence plummeted, but the resilience that dyslexia had planted in me, along with my father’s words, that “it’s okay if others do it once and you need to try five times, you still get there”, pushed me to learn how to code‑switch and formulate my own techniques to socialise—such as looking at a person’s eyebrows to maintain “eye contact” while speaking so I don’t appear rude and consequently get naturally discriminated against.

If I hadn’t been able to pick myself up, I wouldn’t have been able to explore a world of opportunities and in turn, give back. This is why I set out on this social mission, to make sure that no one gets left behind; to recover, as many as possible, potential opportunities that could have been easily lost by those left behind. Today, an estimated 500 million children in the world are still illiterate by the age of 10—a result of socio‑economic factors and learning differences. One child at a time, starting from our little red dot, I hope to bring our world‑class education to the rest of the world.

“I believe that quality education embraces diversity and self‑expression”

I believe that quality education embraces diversity and self‑expression. Inclusive education embraces the uniqueness of every child, fostering an environment where all can thrive. By championing inclusive classrooms, we provide these children with a supportive learning environment, nurturing their talents and equipping them with the skills they need to succeed.

Quality education should be inclusive. Low‑income families often face numerous barriers in accessing quality education, perpetuating the cycle of inequality. Through inclusive classrooms, we can bridge this gap, offering tailored support and resources to ensure that these children receive the education they deserve. By providing financial assistance, subsidies and mentorship, we empower low‑income families to break free from the constraints of their circumstances and reach their full potential within the same generation. Together, we can build a more inclusive society that celebrates diversity and provides a level playing field for every child.

Every child is unique and it’s our responsibility as a society to address their diverse learning needs. Inclusive classrooms embrace children with learning differences, providing them with specialised support and resources. By integrating individualised teaching methods and fostering a culture of empathy and understanding, we create an environment where all children can thrive academically and develop a strong sense of self‑worth. Inclusive education ensures that no child is left behind, regardless of learning ability.

To create inclusive classrooms and bridge the social gap, collaboration is key. Like the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. By sharing resources within the industry, expertise and best practices, we can create a holistic support system that addresses the unique needs of marginalised children. Collaboration also involves engaging parents, empowering them as partners in their children’s education, and providing them with the necessary tools and support.

As an advocate for inclusive education, I’ve dedicated my life to bringing equity to education by first creating inclusive classrooms and levelling the playing field through an inclusive early English literacy curriculum. I hope more can come together, collaborate, and ensure that every child has the opportunity to shine, regardless of their background and differences. Through inclusive education, we can create a society that celebrates diversity, a society that is empowered, a society where every opportunity is seized and not lost to discrimination, a society where we acknowledge that it takes a village to raise a child and champion inclusive classrooms such as those in School of Concepts to provide access to quality education so that no child is left behind.