Outdoor education and activities

Published Date: 26 February 2021 05:35 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Yip Hon Weng, Yio Chu Kang SMC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) how are schools ensuring that all outdoor education and activities are conducted with the participants' safety at the top of their minds; and (b) how are all personnel including external vendors who plan and conduct such activities accredited and assessed periodically for safety training.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Ms Joan Pereira, Tanjong Pagar GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) whether the Ministry conducts periodic reviews of third-party vendors' safety records especially for those organising physical activities; and (b) whether the Ministry obtains feedback from students and teachers on the safety protocols of such vendors.

Response

  1. Schools conduct risk assessments for all outdoor adventure learning activities to ensure that the risks are identified and adequately mitigated. The risk assessment examines areas such as facilities and equipment used, competence of personnel conducting the activities, safe conduct of the activity, participant readiness and the environment.
  2. When working with external vendors, schools require vendors to comply with MOE's safety guidelines at the external site. During the activity, school staff monitor students' well-being and check that measures to mitigate risks are implemented effectively. Upon conclusion of the activity, the Teacher IC reviews the conduct of the activity. This includes obtaining feedback from teachers and the vendor on the safety management of the activity. The findings are made available to any school staff who is tasked to organise similar activities in the future.
  3. All personnel conducting outdoor adventure activities, including external vendors, must possess relevant certifications to conduct the different activities safely. External vendors who are unable to provide such certified personnel will not be considered for the conduct of such activities. MOE has identified relevant technical certifications for the different types of activities.
  4. Instructors are also required to register with MOE before they can provide their services to schools, either as individuals or under third party vendors. MOE will assess the suitability of the applicants based on their relevant certifications, safety record and experience to conduct the activities; as well as their registration with a relevant professional body (if applicable). Successful applicants will have their MOE registration valid for a period of 2 years.
  5. MOE will take further action against vendors or instructors who are found to have acted in a way that compromises the safety and well-being of students, including de-registering instructors. A deregistered person will not be able to provide services to schools whether as an individual or under a vendor company. For vendors under investigation for unsafe practices, MOE may postpone or cancel upcoming activities under their existing contracts, and may hold back the award of new contracts.
  6. The safety of our students has always been of paramount importance to us. As mentioned earlier, MOE is conducting a review on the conduct of outdoor adventure learning activities. We will provide further updates when the review is completed.
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