Over 150 student-athletes played their first matches in the National School Games (NSG) at the Singapore Sports Hub today, marking the start of the school sports season. The NSG runs from January to August and is the largest and most extensive annual youth sports event in Singapore, with over 450 sports championships.
2. Organised by the Singapore Primary Schools Sports Council and the Singapore Schools Sports Council, the NSG provides opportunities for students to participate in inter-school competitions, undergirded by the Council's motto, 'Character in Sporting Excellence'. The number of students participating in the games has increased nearly three-fold since its inception more than 30 years ago, from 20,000 in 1986 to an estimated 60,000 student-athletes across 29 sports1 this year.
3. Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education, who was the Guest-of-Honour at today's NSG Opening Ceremony, said: "Each competition and CCA experience is a lesson in character building, providing valuable learning opportunities for students beyond the classroom. These experiences will continue to be essential for holistic learning and character education for our students."
4. In addition to the NSG Opening Ceremony, schools will be conducting their own symbolic ceremonies throughout February, so that students can show support for their school's representatives.
Enhancement to Schools' Physical Education, Sports and Outdoor Education Facilities
5. At the NSG Opening Ceremony, Minister Ong also announced that MOE will be enhancing facilities for Physical Education (PE), Sports and Outdoor Education (OE) at government and government-aided schools. This is in line with MOE's commitment to create a conducive physical environment and more opportunities for students to participate actively in sports and play. The enhancements will be implemented in phases from 2020, and are expected to be completed by 2024. They will better support the full implementation of the PE Syllabus 2014 and NurtureSG recommendations on increasing opportunities for unstructured play2, especially in further promoting a culture of active and healthy living in our schools.
6. Under the enhancement programme, primary and secondary schools will be provided with acrylic-coated surfaces for outdoor play courts, which are more conducive and safer for physical activities and sports. These schools will also have up to four additional basketball boards each.
7. The size of playgrounds in primary schools and MOE Kindergartens (MKs) will also be increased, where feasible. Primary school outdoor fitness playgrounds will double in size from 120m2 to 240m2 to better facilitate PE and Programme for Active Learning (PAL) activities. MK outdoor playgrounds will be expanded to 160 m2 to create more space for play and games.
8. By 2024, all primary and secondary schools will be equipped with three covered play courts each. Currently, most schools already have three covered play courts, comprising a Multi-Purpose Hall (MPH), an Indoor Sports Hall (ISH) and a sheltered basketball court below the elevated ISH. Through the enhancement programme, MOE will provide each of the approximately 40 remaining schools with a sheltered basketball court3. The covered play courts will ensure that there is minimum disruption to PE lessons and outdoor CCA during bad weather.
Redefining Co-Curricular Activity (CCA) experiences
9. Minister Ong also revealed that MOE will embark on a pilot study to remove CCA selection trials in primary schools, to provide more students with the opportunity to participate in a CCA of their choice. The pilot study will begin with a handful of primary schools in 2020.
10. As we work to cater to students' diverse interests and talents in CCA, we also understand that some schools may not have sufficient critical mass to set up and run a specific CCA. Hence, since 2019, MOE has embarked on a three-year pilot with MCCY to study the feasibility of providing centrally run CCAs or Strategic Partnership CCAs (SP-CCAs). The SP-CCA programme will also provide students more opportunities to interact with peers from different backgrounds. For a start, MOE is piloting SP-CCAs for Athletics and Ethnic Dance.
11. In addition, MOE will continue to support various models of inter-school CCA collaborations. This could include one where two schools run a CCA programme together, and where appropriate, form a combined team to participate in inter-school competitions such as the NSG. Alternatively, schools could explore shorter-term collaborations, through which their students can participate in ad-hoc inter-school events. Further details on the enhancements to CCA experiences will be shared when ready.
12. Through these changes, we hope to transform CCA experiences by opening up more avenues for students to deepen their passion, build friendships, and develop character and resilience through play.
The sports are: Badminton, Basketball, Canoeing, Cricket, Cross Country, Fencing, Floorball, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Hockey, Judo, Netball, Rope Skipping, Rugby, Sailing, Sepak Takraw, Shooting, Softball, Squash, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Tenpin Bowling, Track and Field, Volleyball, Waterpolo and Wushu.
Opportunities for students to be engaged in unstructured play beyond curriculum time include recess time or after school hours. Schools will also make available facilities and sports equipment (on loan to students) during those times.
These schools’ ISHs are built on the ground level or integrated within a larger block.