April 08, 2016
Developing Rugged and Resilient Youths Through Outdoor Education
1. The Ministry of Education (MOE) will strengthen the holistic development of our students by providing them with more opportunities to benefit from Outdoor Education (OE). This includes having a whole new five-day expedition-based camp for all Secondary 3 students from 2020 onwards.
2. OE experiences, which cannot be replicated in classrooms, help to develop our students holistically by:
- Building their confidence and resilience;
- Enabling them to appreciate diversity in the team;
- Forging camaraderie with others through common experiences;
- Cultivating responsible citizenry and affinity for Singapore; and
- Laying a foundation for active and healthy living.
3. These experiences imbue in our students resilience, ruggedness, tenacity and ability to work well in teams, so that they will be confident to seize future opportunities and tackle challenges together, and build a better Singapore as one.
Cohort camps for all students
4. MOE already has in place various programmes and opportunities for all students to experience OE. Through the OE in Physical Education (PE) Curriculum, which was introduced progressively since 2014, all primary and secondary students are equipped with outdoor living skills, knowledge and attitudes. As part of their PE lessons, students learn to prepare simple meals, build shelters, and manage risks in the outdoors. Today, our students also participate in about two or three school cohort camps at upper primary and secondary levels, which provide them with the authentic outdoor environments to apply their learning.
5. Going forward, MOE will enhance the cohort camp experiences for all students as part of our National Outdoor Adventure Education Masterplan. New camp programmes will be offered, including a new 5-day multi-school Secondary 3 cohort camp at the Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) in Pulau Ubin and the new OBS campus on Coney Island. This expedition-based camp will bring together students from different schools and give them the opportunity to work together and overcome various outdoor challenges.
6. MOE will partner MCCY to build the new OBS campus on Coney Island and co-design the camp programme with OBS to ensure that it is of high quality, supports the school curriculum, and is suitable for our students. The camp will be piloted with some schools starting in 2017 and roll out across schools from 2020, which is when OBS campus on Coney Island is expected to ready.
Enhancements to MOE Outdoor Adventure Learning Centres
7. To improve the quality of the OE programmes, the educational facilities at MOE’s four Outdoor Adventure Learning Centres1 (OALCs) were enhanced in 2015 to provide a greater variety of learning experiences and better cater to the learning needs of primary and secondary school students.
8. To meet the camping needs of all Upper Primary and Lower Secondary school cohort camps and Uniformed Groups (UGs) in schools, MOE will provide enough places for all schools’ cohort camps by rejuvenating and upgrading the existing camp sites over the next few years.
9. Our schools will also continue to leverage the environment surrounding the OALCs for more journey-based expeditions for students to better experience the green corridors and blue waterways that Singapore has to offer, so that our students will develop a greater affinity for the outdoor environment in Singapore and learn about sustainable living.
Innovative camp programmes conducted by qualified staff
10. The quality of outdoor educators, particularly in structured facilitation and instruction, is key to the delivery of MOE’s OE programmes. Since 2015, MOE has worked with the OBS and Republic Polytechnic to provide training for our teachers and outdoor instructors, who are engaged by our schools to conduct programmes at our MOE OALCs. MOE also guides our schools in the design and conduct of camps at our OALCs.
11. To raise the competencies of camp staff, MOE is building a team of passionate and competent full-time Outdoor Adventure Educators (OAEs) to conduct cohort camps for schools at the OALCs. The OAEs will be skillful in designing and facilitating outdoor adventure learning activities to help our students achieve the learning objectives.
12. Under the Masterplan, MOE will also continue to partner outdoor adventure service providers to offer varied programmes to our schools, both locally and overseas. Together with OBS and other partners, MOE is committed to raise the quality and quantity of our outdoor adventure programmes for our students.
Advisory Panel for Outdoor Adventure Learning
13. MOE will continue to review and enhance the quality and safety of all our outdoor adventure learning programmes. An advisory panel for outdoor adventure learning has been formed to provide MOE with advice on the safe provision and management of quality outdoor adventure learning programmes, both locally and overseas.
14. The panel brings together local and international experts with relevant and diverse experience in the fields of outdoor adventure learning, medical emergencies and evacuations, and natural hazards. It also includes parent representatives. Chaired by Dr Tan Lai Yong from the College of Alice & Peter Tan, National University of Singapore, who is known for his work with the youth and communities, the panel will also gather views from students, teachers, parents, service providers and overseas partners.
15. With these efforts in place, MOE is confident of developing students who are united, resourceful, resilient, and with a heart for Singapore.