PARLIAMENT: Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth

More school facilities can be used for sport

Full-time national serviceman Ismail Abdul Kadir, who experiences uncontrollable trembling in his hands, is excited about training with the national cerebral palsy football team.
Full-time national serviceman Ismail Abdul Kadir, who experiences uncontrollable trembling in his hands, is excited about training with the national cerebral palsy football team.PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Disability Sports Master Plan launched, in bid to have physically active and inclusive society

Singaporeans keen to adopt a healthy lifestyle and even pursue sports more seriously will find it easier to do so in the coming years.

Announcing the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth's plans for the sports sector in Parliament yesterday, Minister Grace Fu said the public will have greater access to sports programmes and facilities island-wide.

This builds on the $1.5 billion Sports Facilities Master Plan to ensure Singaporeans have a venue to play and exercise within 10 minutes of their home by 2030; and the Dual-Use Scheme, which opens indoor sports halls and fields in schools outside of school hours.

There are now 87 chargeable school fields, 49 free-to-play fields and 77 indoor sports halls. This is about half of all government primary and secondary schools. The rest will be opened by around 2020.

More than 210,000 bookings for these facilities were made in the last financial year.

  • $2 billion 

    Total bill; down 22.6 per cent from last year.

    700,000 

    Number of visitors to the National Gallery since it opened late last year.

    23,000 

    Number of Team Nila volunteers who helped with last year's SEA Games and Asean Para Games.

    6,000 

    Number of Singaporeans who have been to an SGFuture dialogue session.

Auditor Jacqueline Wong, 35, plays badminton at Yishun Town Secondary School every weekend. She welcomed the expansion of the scheme, saying: "Yishun Town has just four courts, so there's a limited number of people who can play if we just book one court. More courts will help the whole community."

There were more than 15 million visitors to public sports facilities last year and a Ministry of Communications and Information survey found that 76 per cent were satisfied with efforts to create a vibrant sports scene.

Besides more spaces to play, more citizens and permanent residents are also joining the country's biggest "sports club": ActiveSG

Membership in ActiveSG, launched in April 2014, reached 1,011,529 as of March 31. The national movement for sport will set up academies and clubs for basketball, tennis and athletics this year.

Hosting last year's SEA Games and Asean Para Games also stirred the nation, and the ministry aims to build on this legacy towards a physically active and inclusive society.

Said Ms Fu: "Sport is a great way to bring diverse communities together." To that end, a Disability Sports Master Plan has been launched. It will expand access and opportunities for participation by the disabled community. Mainstream schools Jurongville Secondary and Sengkang Secondary will begin a pilot programme this year to develop a sports curriculum for students with disabilities.

Sport Singapore will launch five Centres of Expertise, where sports programmes and gym facilities will cater to persons with disabilities, within the next five years.

This will start with Sengkang Sports Centre for swimmers with disabilities and Queenstown Sta- dium for those with cerebral palsy.

Full-time national serviceman Ismail Abdul Kadir, 25, was excited about training with Singapore's national cerebral palsy football team at Queenstown. Said Mr Ismail, who experiences uncontrollable trembling in his hands: "My disability is not a barrier for me to go forward to play sports. This is a proper channel for people like me to pursue our soccer dreams."

• Additional reporting by Alvin Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2016, with the headline 'Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth More school facilities can be used for sport'. Print Edition | Subscribe