Students should look out for one other and teachers should know their students well, and keep themselves updated in how to organise safe and robust physical education lessons, said Education Minister Heng Swee Keat.
"It is my hope that our students will learn to enjoy sports and be physically active adults, right into their eighties, if not beyond," said Mr Heng. "Therefore we must pay attention to safety. starting from young."
Speaking to parents, educators and students on Thursday at the opening of this year's National School Games, Mr Heng said he was "deeply saddened" by the recent deaths of two male students, which occurred two days apart last month, during their PE lesson.
"Safety is everyone's responsibility," he added, urging students and parents to inform their teachers if a student is not feeling well, or have just recovered from an illness.
The National Schools Games is the largest and most extensive annual youth sports event here with some 55,000 students competing in 28 sports, from now until August.
Mr Heng, who was speaking at the opening ceremony of the games held at ITE College Central, also emphasised the three learning opportunities that sports provides for students: grit, integrity, and service. "In my view, the most valuable trait that sports develop is grit," he said, adding that when students overcome obstacles in pursuit of the goals they have set, it provides them a strong inner core to draw on in future.
To illustrate his point, Mr Heng drew on the example of 25-year-old Saiyidah Aisyah, who took home the nation's first individual gold at the South East Asian (SEA) Games.
"Her achievement did not come easy for her. She had to plough through thousands of hours of training, even putting her career temporarily on hold, to become Singapore's first rowing champion at the games," he said.
He also lauded 15-year-old Lee Tai Yu, a badminton player from Dunman High School, who demonstrated integrity and character even when caught in a high-stakes doubles match at last year's National Inter-School Badminton Championships.
Tai Yu's opponent from Ngee Ann Secondary had hit a shuttle-cock out of play and the umpire awarded the point to Dunman High. But Tai Yu went to the umpire to explain that he had touched the shuttlecock before it went out of play. That, added Mr Heng, was "an honourable act of admission that took everyone by surprise".
Though Tai Yu's team eventually lost the match by four points, Ngee Ann Secondary wrote in to Dunman High to strongly request that he be nominated for the Sportsmanship Award, said Mr Heng.