Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sports is the best school of life!

Singapore Sports School

Singapore is aggressive with its schools' sports programme and Malaysia had better take note.

Obviously their small sized nation makes it much easier for them to implement their programmes, but that should not be Malaysia's excuse for not being as aggressive.

Not only do Singapore have the elite and sports schools in place, but they have gone a step further with their Sports Education Programme.

It was introduced two years ago in a partnership between the Singapore Sports Council and Ministry of Education. It is a dollar-to-dollar matching grant of up top S$10,000 for schools to take up sports programmes from a given list.

Its aims is to advocate the importance of sports education, encourage participation, and increase sporting opportunities for youths. It also ensures service providers give schools quality sports programme.

Primary, Secondary, JCs, Centralised Institutions and Special Education Schools are eligible for this programme. The participation rate is 99% (384 schools) this year, up from 95% (342) last year and 88% (311) in 2007.

What programmes qualify:
#Sports Exposure: One-off events introducing a sport or a sporting lifestyle. Can be in the form of sports clinics, tryouts or carnivals within the school.
#Sports Play: Structured instructional courses that facilitate the learning of a sport at the beginner level with basic skills.
#Sports Development: Facilitate the learning of a sport at a more advanced level with higher-level skills.
#Sports Leagues: Intra-school competitions (inter-class meets) for a chosen sport that take place over a prolonged period of time.

The deteriorating emphasis on physical education and sports in schools is a global issue.
Four years ago when I attended an International Conference on Sports and Education in Bangkok, it was acknowledged that it was a global issue. (Refer to this story)

A majority of the nations worldwide are addressing the situation. Some at an aggressive pace, for they know the importance of sports in school and the role it plays in nation building, while others are moving at a slower pace because of financial constraints. Some others are dragging their feet because schools sports is not their priority.

But there is no denying that sports is an essential part of any society. The sooner everyone realises that, it will be a victory for mankind!

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