Singapore Sports School students can keep some prize money

The Singapore Sports School has reached a consensus with parents on how prizes won by students at sports events should be distributed.
The Singapore Sports School has reached a consensus with parents on how prizes won by students at sports events should be distributed.PHOTO: ST FILE

Sports School and parents resolve issue, with clause revised to allow variable distribution

After almost two months of discussion, the Singapore Sports School (SSP) said yesterday that it has reached a consensus with parents on how prizes won by students at sports events should be distributed.

A revised clause, which initially stated that all prizes won by students will belong to the school, has been modified and will take effect for students who joined the school from this year.

Students will get to keep a portion of the prize if tournament expenses are co-funded or independently funded by them. The school will keep 100 per cent of winnings only if it fully funds the student-athletes' expenses.

Students who are in Secondary 2 and above will not be affected by this revised clause. They get to keep their winnings as long as the prizes are not clearly awarded to SSP, as per their usual practice, although they will be encouraged to donate a part of their prizes to the school.

SSP, which comes under the purview of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, gave the details in a statement to The Straits Times yesterday, after it met parents on Sunday night.

NOBODY LOSES

Our bowling academy representatives worked very closely with the parents and Sports School to seek a win-win solution for the parties involved, namely the parents, the student-athletes and Sports School.

STEPHEN LOWE, who heads the parent volunteer network, on the consensus.

RECOGNISE EFFORT

If the students have done well in a competition through their own effort and sacrifice, the prize that they win is a form of recognition for their hard work.

MR ZAINAL SAPARI, an MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, on incentivising students.

It said that it had revised the clause - which appeared in its sports handbook at the start of the year - to "ensure consistency across all sports academies in how prize monies are managed when student-athletes represent the school in competitions".

The revised clause had upset several parents whose children are in the school's bowling team, as they insisted that they bear a significant portion of the costs when their children attend competitions.

The school had set up three meetings with this group of parents, but was unable to reach an agreement.

Sunday's meeting, however, was open to all parents. School principal Tan Teck Hock said in the statement that the dialogue process allowed the school and the parents to "(forge) a deeper appreciation of each other's considerations".

The school's parent volunteer network also said that the resolution is fair for all parties.

Stephen Lowe, who chairs the network, said: "Our bowling academy representatives worked very closely with the parents and Sports School to seek a win-win solution for the parties involved, namely the parents, the student-athletes and Sports School."

The Straits Times understands that parents are mostly appeased, though some are waiting for the modifications to the clause to be made in writing.

A parent who wanted to be known only as Ms Lim said she was satisfied with the outcome.

"I had some questions when I first found out about the change in the clause. But I'm satisfied with the school's explanations and rationale," she said.

Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Zainal Sapari, who filed a parliamentary question earlier this month asking how mainstream schools deal with prizes after hearing about the situation in SSP from his resident, told The Straits Times that it is reasonable for students to keep a portion of their prizes.

"If the students have done well in a competition through their own effort and sacrifice, the prize that they win is a form of recognition for their hard work," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 28, 2017, with the headline 'Students can keep some prize money'. Print Edition | Subscribe