Outdoor programmes benefit kids

THE recent Sabah earthquake which killed seven Tanjong Katong Primary School pupils, two teachers and a Singaporean adventure guide on Mount Kinabalu was indeed a sad incident.

While some netizens have pointed fingers at the Ministry of Education and the school, others have responded and spoken well of such programmes.

Children who went for these programmes learnt life-long lessons and formed life-long friendships.

Through outdoor activities, children learn to work as a team, survive in a jungle, and appreciate and respect nature.

As we reflect over this incident, it is not that the children were too young, nor were the mountain guides, parents who allowed their children to attend or the Ministry of Education who approved such programmes at fault.

It was purely an unfortunate event as the earthquake had caught even the meteorological authorities by surprise.

Now that the funerals are over, it is important to manage the post-incident trauma of those who were impacted. We must ensure they will not be mentally scarred by this incident.

Singapore must be a nation where the people bounce back from negative experiences.

I hope the ministry does not impose strict restrictions that discourage schools from continuing such programmes.

Rodney Tan Wee Hong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2015, with the headline 'Outdoor programmes benefit kids'. Print Edition | Subscribe