February 20, 2019
Medals award a move to recognise achievement
We refer to recent articles and letters on the changes to the National School Games Junior Division competition (Trophy for coming in 8th?, Feb 14; and Are schools blunting excellence?, Feb 17).
It is important to remember that these changes only affect nine-to 11-year-old pupils, not the entire student population.
All students learn sports as part of their school's physical education programme, and many participate in inter-class competitions.
Those who are interested and talented in sport also join co-curricular activities (CCAs) and even compete in the National School Games.
Beyond CCAs and competitions, students may also participate in ActiveSG sports academies and competitions.
For our Primary 3 to 5 pupils, the Junior Division represents their first formal inter-school competition.
Hence, we believe that there is room to provide these younger student-athletes with more developmentally-appropriate competition experiences, increase their playing opportunities and playing time, and encourage the joy of playing sports for life.
One change is the increase in position-based recognition for individual events from the current top four to the top eight positions - but only for events where there are at least 15 participants.
For competitions with fewer than this, the number of medals awarded will be reduced correspondingly.
The rationale for awarding up to eight medals is to create more opportunities for our young student-athletes to be recognised for their achievements.
However, these are not "participation medals".
Pupils must still train hard, compete with a winning mindset and do their best during the competition to win medals.
By implementing these changes in partnership with coaches, parents and sports agencies, our aim is to strike a good balance between the different objectives.
Ultimately, we want our young student-athletes to learn and love sports for life.
Tan Chen Kee (Mrs)
Student Development Curriculum Division
Ministry of Education