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More than 7,000 students expected to complete OBS by end-2017: MOE

SINGAPORE — More than 1,000 students from five schools have participated in a five-day expedition camp at Outward Bound Singapore, nearly two months after an initiative to see all Secondary 3 students go through the programme by 2020 kicked off.

Minister for Education (Schools), Mr Ng Chee Meng  taking part with student participants of the MOE-OBS Secondary 3 Programme on Feb 23. Photo: Koh Mui Fong/TODAY

Minister for Education (Schools), Mr Ng Chee Meng taking part with student participants of the MOE-OBS Secondary 3 Programme on Feb 23. Photo: Koh Mui Fong/TODAY

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SINGAPORE — More than 1,000 students from five schools have participated in a five-day expedition camp at Outward Bound Singapore, nearly two months after an initiative to see all Secondary 3 students go through the programme by 2020 kicked off.

The programme is part of the National Outdoor Adventure Education Masterplan announced last year, and the Ministry of Education (MOE) said that by the end of this year, some 7,300 students from 28 secondary schools would have gone through the programme in over 20 runs.

The masterplan was launched to develop resilience among students. The ministry said that from this year, trainee Physical Education teachers at the National Institute of Education (NIE) will undergo a compulsory, full outdoor education module of 12 hours over six weeks.

Currently, trainee teachers go for a one-day workshop in outdoor education. Through the module, trainee PE teachers will acquire deeper knowledge and skills in theory and practice, said the ministry.

It will also beef up training for teachers and outdoor adventure educators, with another 500 teachers to undergo professional development and refresher courses organised by the MOE.

To date, some 600 teachers involved in outdoor education have been trained to conduct activities such as high-element challenge courses in their schools.

Speaking during a visit to the OBS campus on Pulau Ubin yesterday, Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng said the MOE-OBS Secondary 3 programme “brings together a holistic aspect of education … that many of our children don’t get to enjoy”.

“Outdoor education lends a different form of learning … where they react to the environment, put all their resources together,” he said.

“In the future environment, where we know there are less certainties, the academic learning and this outdoor learning come together very well to prepare our kids holistically.”

Yesterday marked the fourth day of the programme’s third run, in which about 350 students from both Tanjong Katong Girls School and Whitley Secondary School came together.

For some, it was the first time working with group mates of the opposite gender.

Sophia Rose Meyers, 15, from Tanjong Katong Girls School, said the camp had widened her social circle. “Because we are a school (with only express-stream classes), I don’t really get to associate with people from different streams,” she said. “I felt like this camp allowed me to be more open-minded and bond with the people who I don’t usually interact with,” she added.

Jordan Low, 15, from Whitley Secondary School, said that while it was “awkward at the start”, there ended up being mutual sharing between both schools about school life, among other topics.

The camp programme is co-designed by MOE and OBS, and in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. A new OBS campus will also be built on Coney Island. ALFRED CHUA

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