Strategy games such as 'Go' are also a good way to learn: Heng Swee Keat

SINGAPORE - Games and play are very important ways to stimulate learning, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Sunday at the first National Primary School Go Championship organised by The Go Academy.

"We should encourage our children to explore learning in different forms, whether it's a strategy game or whether it's through outdoor activities," said Mr Heng.

"We want to encourage them to develop a wide range of interests and in that way we can stimulate learning through different means." This will also give them a chance to meet and interact with different people and develop holistically, he added.

More than 400 pupils from 103 schools took part in the competition, which was held at the official launch of The Go Academy at Ulu Pandan Community Club.

Also held at the same time was the first Tri-Nations Junior Go Challenge, with three participants each from Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

Academy founder Daniel Chan, 27, said his aim is to get more Singaporeans interested in the ancient Chinese strategy game, also known as weiqi, and spread awareness of its benefits.

"A lot of parents think weiqi is just a game, a hobby. But in countries such as China, South Korea and Japan, weiqi is also an educational tool to help children with their academic studies and in their brain development," he said.