Following the Ministry of Education’s announcement of the National Outdoor Adventure Education Master Plan in 2016, MOE, together with MCCY, has now launched the first phase of its five-day MOE-OBS Secondary 3 Programme, held at Outward Bound Singapore (OBS)’s premises at Pulau Ubin. This drive towards Outdoor Education (OE) is part of MOE’s wider efforts to promote the holistic development of students.
2. MOE has also been training its staff and teachers and working closely with parents to ensure that all students benefit from an enhanced OE curriculum. This is aimed at imparting to students values and life skills such as resilience, ruggedness, and teamwork.
First Phase of the Five-day Expedition-based Programme
3. Since the first phase of the MOE-OBS programme kicked off in January 2017, students from different schools have received many opportunities to interact with one another and work together to overcome outdoor challenges, such as navigating through treks in Pulau Ubin and sailing between Pulau Ubin and Sembawang on the mainland. To date, more than 1,000 students from five schools have participated in the programme.
4. Mr Ng Chee Meng, Minister for Education (Schools) said, “Our students gain important values and life lessons in the outdoors that they cannot learn in a classroom. They step up to overcome obstacles and work with their teammates to solve challenges in unfamiliar settings outside of their comfort zone. These experiences grow our students to become more confident and independent. They learn to be adaptable and resilient, and they learn to care and to share. Most importantly, they build strong friendship and create lasting memories. These are essential values and skills that will better ready our young to tackle future challenges and build a better Singapore together.”
5. MOE will be strengthening its efforts to ensure that more students benefit from the programme. By the end of 2017, some 7,300 Secondary 3 students from 28 schools would have taken part in it. This programme will eventually be offered to all secondary schools, in tandem with OBS’ expansion at Coney Island.
Enhancing Capabilities of Teachers and Outdoor Adventure Educators (OAEs)
6. As teachers and Outdoor Adventure Educators (OAEs) are key to delivering quality OE experiences for students, MOE is committed to continually enhance their professional capabilities. To date, more than 600 teachers who are involved in OE have been trained to conduct these activities. This year, another 500 teachers are expected to benefit from the professional development and refresher courses organised by MOE. Through these opportunities, they will be certified to teach and conduct different aspects of OE, such as the ‘high elements’ challenge courses.
7. To strengthen pre-service training for PE teachers, MOE has worked with the National Institute of Education to extend an existing one-day OE workshop to a full module of 12 hours spanning six weeks. Through this module, trainee PE teachers are able to acquire more in-depth knowledge and skills in theory and practice, and be better equipped to teach OE within the school’s PE curriculum.
8. To further raise the competencies of camp staff, MOE has recruited a team of OAEs to design and facilitate outdoor activities at the Dairy Farm Outdoor Adventure Learning Centre (OALC), which offers cohort camp experiences.
Strengthening Partnerships with Parents
9. MOE also recognises the importance of working closely with parents. In 2016, MOE organised four parent engagement sessions at OALCs, where parents and their children were given opportunities to experience outdoor activities together. Parents of student-participants in the first phase of the MOE-OBS Secondary 3 Programme were also invited to a one-day OBS experience at Pulau Ubin last October.
10. Through these engagement sessions, parents had the opportunity to better understand and support the role of OE in the holistic development of their children. In 2017, MOE will continue to reach out to parents by holding more engagement sessions at the OALCs.