School sports: JSA programme revamped to offer students greater exposure

The Junior Sports Academy (JSA) programme will be revised to offer students more options to develop their interests in sports at the Primary School level.

Instead of undergoing training for one of nine pre-selected sports under the old model, they will now be able to pick up four different sports during the four-semester period.

Each JSA candidate will choose one sport from each of the four broad categories available: badminton, table tennis, volleyball (net-barrier/wall), basketball, floorball, football (territorial invasion), shooting, fencing, tenpin bowling (striking and fielding/target) and gymnastics, track and field, wushu (general sports).

Set up by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in 2008, the two-year programme will be revised from next month. The new cohort will also begin their training in the second semester of Primary 4, six months earlier compared to previous batches who started at the start of Primary 5.

Each sport module will be conducted one a week over one semester at the 10 JSA centres - selected primary and secondary schools across Singapore - with sports-related workshops at the end of the module.

There are also plans to increase the total number of sports from the current 12 to 28.

MOE noted that the changes are to make more sports accessible to students and give them sufficient exposure to then make an informed choice to specialise at the secondary school level and beyond.

Open to any Primary 4 student nominated by their teachers or parent, the selection trials - used to evaluate general motor skills rather than any sport-specific abilities - will be held over two Saturdays, April 25 and May 2, at the Singapore Sports School.

Around 1 per cent of each Primary 4 cohort - or about 400 students each year - currently participate in the programme.

An additional window for selection will be conducted in Primary 5 for more students to enrol.