By the end of this year, some 7,300 Secondary 3 students from 28 secondary schools would have attended a five-day Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) camp designed for an enhanced outdoor education curriculum.
And from 2020 onwards, the expedition-based camp - now in its first phase of implementation - will be rolled out for Sec 3 students across all schools.
More than 1,000 students from five schools have already attended the camp since the first phase kicked off last month. In a programme designed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and OBS, the students learnt everything from cooking outdoors to zipping through the air on the flying fox.
Unlike school camps, where students mingle only with their own schoolmates, the MOE-OBS camp brings together students from different schools and backgrounds.
Yesterday, Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng said students from different schools can learn from one another and work together to overcome challenges.
He said the camp is "one of the key pieces" in the National Outdoor Adventure Education Masterplan, which was firstannounced a year ago during MOE's Committee of Supply parliamentary sitting.
The masterplan aims to provide students here with more opportunities to benefit from outdoor education, which can impart skills such as resilience and teamwork.
From 2020 onwards, all students will take part in three cohort camps during their school years. This includes the MOE-OBS camp for Sec 3 students.
Currently, students participate in at least two such camps - one in upper primary and the other in secondary school - where they learn to prepare simple meals, set up shelters and assess risks in the outdoors.
More than 600 teachers have been trained to conduct outdoor education activities, and MOE said it will continue to enhance the competencies of teachers and outdoor adventure educators. Another 500 teachers are expected to benefit from 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 ropes courses.
Yesterday, Mr Ng visited the OBS facility on Pulau Ubin, where he interacted with students participating in various OBS activities such as sailing and kayaking.
Mr Ng also took part, even whizzing through the air on a flying fox.
About 350 students from two schools, Whitley Secondary School and Tanjong Katong Girls' School, were at the camp this week.
Students shared that while they found interactions awkward at first, the activities forced them to get to know their peers from the other school.
Sophia Rose Meyers, 15, who had a fear of heights, managed to ascend to the top of a climbing wall after encouragement from her instructors and new friends.
"They kept pushing me to go on and on," she said.
"This camp taught me about perseverance and teamwork. It also helped me to bond with people I don't usually talk to."
Whitley Secondary student Jordan Low, 15, said: "As the days progressed, we got comfortable around one another and were able to work together to get things done."