New Outward Bound Singapore camps for all students from 2020

Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng trying out flying fox at the Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) facility on Pulau Ubin on Thursday (Feb 23)
Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng trying out flying fox at the Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) facility on Pulau Ubin on Thursday (Feb 23)ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng trying out the rowboat at the Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) facility on Pulau Ubin on Thursday (Feb 23).
Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng trying out the rowboat at the Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) facility on Pulau Ubin on Thursday (Feb 23).ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - More than 1,000 Secondary 3 students from five schools have taken part in a customised five-day Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) expedition-based camp, which will eventually be rolled out across all schools from 2020 onwards.

The camp is part of the National Outdoor Adventure Education Masterplan which was first revealed about a year ago during the Ministry of Education's (MOE) Committee of Supply parliamentary sitting.

The ministry on Thursday (Feb 23) shared that the first phase of the camp, designed together with OBS, kicked off last month. It aims to provide students here with more opportunities to benefit from outdoor education which can impart skills such as resilience and teamwork.

By the end of 2017, some 7,300 Secondary 3 students from 28 secondary schools would have taken part in the programme.

Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng said students acquire important values and life lessons in the outdoors that they cannot learn in a classroom.

All students from 2020 onwards will take part in three cohort camps during their school years. This includes the OBS camp for Secondary 3 students.

Currently, students participate in at least two such camps - one in upper primary and another in secondary school - where they learn to prepare simple meals, set up shelters and assess risks in the outdoors.

This comes as MOE places a stronger emphasis on outdoor education.

The ministry will continue to enhance the professional capabilities of teachers and outdoor adventure educators to deliver meaningful outdoor education experiences.

Currently, more than 600 teachers have been trained to conduct outdoor education activities.

Another 500 teachers are expected to benefit from the professional development and refresher courses organised by MOE this year. They will be certified to teach and conduct various aspects of outdoor education, such as the high elements challenge courses.

On Thursday afternoon, Mr Ng visited the OBS facility on Pulau Ubin, where he interacted with Secondary 3 students participating in various OBS activities such as trekking and kayaking.

He also spent the day taking part in activities with students, such as zipping through the air on a flying fox.

Mr Ng said such experiences help students to step outside of the comfort zone, and become more confident and independent.