The announcement of Public Service Commission scholarship recipients going to faraway destinations is akin to the Grand Tour of Europe, which upper-class young men traditionally undertook as an educational rite of passage in 17th century Britain.
Today, more and younger students travel to exotic locations overseas during the school holidays. These trips are promoted as an expansion of classroom learning, and are classified as special interest tourism by scholars.
While this may achieve some educational objectives, well-planned excursions which do not involve overseas travel or overnight stays can also be a source of rich learning for both teachers and students.
I fondly remember that, as a student in the 1970s , the only destination outside Singapore I knew was Sentosa, and everyone looked forward to riding the cable car.
Attractions in Singapore have come a long way in catering to the needs and desires of both residents and tourists, including students.
The challenge is how schools can best promote learning and manage the risks: through excursions or tourism?
Osman V.P. Mohamed