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MOE review: Students will not be as motivated to win in tiered competitions

I am writing in response to the report, “MOE to review National School Games competitions of pri school pupils” (Jan 24).

MOE review: Students will not be as motivated to win in tiered competitions

Athletes take their oaths during the National School Games Opening Ceremony at OCBC Arena Hall 1, Singapore Sports Hub, Jan 24, 2018. Photo: Koh Mui Fong/TODAY

Andre Chua Tze Ming

I am writing in response to the report, “MOE to review National School Games competitions of pri school pupils” (Jan 24).

Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng said that this is to allow students competing for the first time to boost their basic skills and cultivate the joy of playing sports. It also helps in reducing the perceived stakes of competitions at a young age, and instilling a growth mindset in students through sports.

I agree that the tiered competition system will certainly provide more playing opportunities at different levels, catering to a team’s ability. It is also true that more playing time will allow students to develop skill in the game.

However, I also think that the reduced pressure and competitiveness will affect the student’s drive and motivation, which leads to a stagnation of skills.

As a former competitor in the National School Games, it was the very prize that encouraged me to push myself further to clinch it.

Had the system given out more medals to participants, I would surely have had the mindset to work less hard, eventually not achieving the aim of “build(ing) up the students’ fundamentals and strengths in sports” as said by Ms Lee Hui Feng, chairman of the Singapore Primary Schools Sports Council.

I strongly feel that such a system indirectly promotes complacency. The devaluing of prizes will certainly mean students will have less ambition to try hard, and this deadens the enthusiasm of sports players.

Although it is true that winning is not everything in sports, it is the main driving factor. Competitiveness is such a key aspect of sports and a powerful motivator.

In my opinion, it accelerates progress and development much faster than casual play. Besides, it builds resilience when you experience failure. This fundamental and essential part of sports should not be given up for mere exposure to sports.

Competitiveness catalyses the progress of a student in the game and is almost indispensable.

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