7,300 Sec 3 students to have taken part in OBS programme by end-2017: MOE

Vanessa Lim Channel NewsAsia 23 Feb 17;

SINGAPORE: By the end of 2017, about 7,300 Secondary 3 students from 28 schools would have taken part in the five-day MOE-OBS outdoor education programme, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) in a media release on Thursday (Feb 23).

Launched by MOE and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), the MOE-OBS Secondary 3 Programme held at the Outward Bound Singapore's (OBS) premises at Pulau Ubin kicked off on Jan 9, 2017. Since then, more than 1,000 students from five schools have taken part.

Last year, MOE announced its National Outdoor Adventure Education Masterplan to promote the holistic development of students through outdoor education.

Through the programme, students will get opportunities to interact with one another and work together to overcome outdoor challenges, such as navigating through treks in Pulau Ubin and sailing between Pulau Ubin and Sembawang on the mainland.

To date, more than 600 teachers who are involved in outdoor education have been trained to conduct these activities. Another 500 teachers are expected to undergo professional development and refresher courses organised by the ministry this year, MOE said.

MOE has also worked with the National Institute of Education to strengthen pre-service training for Physical Education (PE) teachers. Earlier this year, it extended an existing one-day outdoor education workshop to a full module to better equip PE teachers to teach outdoor education.

In addition, a new OBS campus built on Coney Island will be ready from 2020. The five-day outdoor education programme will then be rolled out to all secondary schools, and will see about 45,000 students taking part each year.

- CNA/dl

More than 7,000 students expected to complete OBS by end-2017: MOE
ALFRED CHUA Today Online 24 Feb 17;

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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