MOE announces multi-school OBS camp for Sec 3 students

The 5-day camp comes under the new National Outdoor Adventure Education Masterplan and will take place at Outward Bound Singapore campuses in Pulau Ubin and Coney Island from 2020 onwards.
Justin Ong Channel NewsAsia 8 Apr 16;

SINGAPORE: A new five-day, expedition-based, multi-school camp for all Secondary 3 students will be launched in 2020, announced the Ministry of Education on Friday (April 8).

It will be sited at Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) campuses in Pulau Ubin and Coney Island, and comes on the heels of the National Outdoor Adventure Education Masterplan unveiled by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his Budget statement last month.

The Masterplan aims to instill resilience in youths by expanding outdoor adventure education - a point reiterated by Acting Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng in his speech at the Committee of Supply’s Parliamentary debates on Friday.

“We will put more emphasis on non-academic aspects of learning,” he said. “Good character, social-emotional competencies and other skills like critical thinking and effective communication are necessary foundations for work and life.”

Describing Outdoor Education (OE) as a platform that provides “rich learning experiences outside the classroom”, he noted that MOE has existing initiatives for primary and secondary schools, such as individual school cohort camps and Physical Education (PE) lessons teaching OE as part of the curriculum.

The addition of the new multi-school Secondary 3 cohort camp will bring students of different institutions together to interact, collaborate and overcome outdoor challenges together, said Mr Ng.

MOE will co-design the camp programme with OBS, and pilot it with some schools starting next year, before rolling it out nationwide from 2020, when the new S$250 million OBS campus on Coney Island is expected to be completed.


MOE also announced that camp capacity at the ministry’s four Outdoor Adventure Learning Centres (OALCs) - at Jalan Bahtera, Changi Coast, Labrador and Dairy Farm - will be increased and their facilities upgraded.

Additionally, a team of full-time Outdoor Adventure Educators (OAEs) will be put together by MOE to conduct cohort camps for schools at the OALCs. These OAEs will be trained in designing and facilitating outdoor adventure activities to help students achieve learning objectives.

Mr Ng further stressed that student safety remains paramount, even as MOE moves to enhance outdoor education, with an Advisory Panel for Outdoor Adventure Learning formed to provide MOE with input to enhance the quality and safety of its local and overseas outdoor programmes. The panel was first announced last year, after an earthquake in Sabah, Malaysia killed 10 Singaporeans, most of whom were primary school students.

Local and international experts in the fields of outdoor adventure learning, medical emergencies and evacuations, and natural hazards make up the panel, which will also gather views from students, teachers, parents, service providers and overseas partners.

- CNA/jo

All Secondary 3 students to go through five-day OBS from 2020

SINGAPORE – All Secondary 3 students will go through a five-day Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) expedition-based camp, under the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) new National Outdoor Adventure Education Masterplan.

The camp will be piloted with some schools next year, and eventually rolled out to all schools from 2020, when the OBS’ second campus, on Coney Island, is expected to be ready.

Giving details of the masterplan during his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate on Friday (April 8), Acting Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng said: “Schools camps are another way of immersing our students in authentic, often challenging situations, where they need to work in teams and learn to take responsibility for decisions they make.

“These experiences develop a culture of self-reliance and mutual support with their peers.”

The MOE will co-design the camp programme with OBS, and partner the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth to build the new OBS campus on Coney Island. The camp will also mix students from various schools.

Last month, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said every Singaporean youth will have the opportunity to attend an OBS camp at least once in their schooling years, noting that building up rugged youths is pertinent amid the threat of terrorism and an increasingly diverse society.

Currently, students participate in about two or three school cohort camps at upper primary and secondary levels.

OBS currently has a campus on Pulau Ubin. Beyond the OBS campuses, existing facilities at the MOE’s Outdoor Adventure Learning Centres in Dairy Farm, Changi Coast, Labrador and Jalan Bahtera were upgraded last year to better cater to students’ learning needs.

Other existing campsites will be rejuvenated and upgraded over the next few years to provide enough capacity for all upper-primary and lower-secondary school cohort camps and uniformed groups in schools.

Mr Ng added that the MOE will continue to partner outdoor adventure service providers to offer varied programmes locally and overseas.

To raise the quality of outdoor education programmes, the MOE will also be building a team of full-time Outdoor Adventure Educators to design and conduct cohort camps for school. Since last year, the ministry has been working with OBS and Republic Polytechnic to provide training for teachers and outdoor instructors.

Mr Ng stressed that the safety of the students remains “paramount” even as outdoor education is enhanced and expanded. To that end, an advisory panel for outdoor adventure learning has been appointed to advise MOE on raising the quality and safety of its outdoor learning programmes.

The panel, which will be chaired by the National University of Singapore’s Dr Tan Lai Yong from the College of Alice & Peter Tan, will include parent representatives, as well as local and international experts with a diverse range of experience including medical emergencies and evacuations and natural hazards.

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