Allow students to decide distribution of winnings

Student-athletes from the Singapore Sports School (SSP) are now required to give all prize money to the school, sparking heated discussion and raising some important issues that should be addressed ("Sports school's prize rule upsets parents"; Feb 14).

First, clearer communication should be established between the school and parents. Parents should at least be informed of major changes in the students' Sports Handbook.

This will allow parents to not only better understand their child's schooling environment, but also to respond to any changes and clarify any doubts, preventing future issues from blowing up because of misunderstandings.

Greater transparency on the school's part, regarding how the prize money will be used, will also help.

Second, student-athletes should be given the right to decide the portion of winnings to be donated to the school. Teenagers in secondary school should be trusted to make responsible decisions on the distribution of their winnings.

While "money should not be a motivating factor for student-athletes", this does not justify the pocketing of all the prize money. The students passionate about sports need not be amateurs. This might even discourage student-athletes from pursuing sports as a professional career.

I recognise the effort the SSP makes in training and nurturing outstanding athletes - the cost of hiring coaches, maintaining the facilities and providing partial funding for sporting events is definitely not low.

However, the winnings could help alleviate parents' financial burden, as they bear a significant portion of the costs incurred during overseas competitions.

I applaud SSP's attempts at achieving a fair outcome for all ("SSP vows 'win-win' outcome"; Feb 15), and hope that this issue will be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.

Jovyn Tan Li Shyan (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2017, with the headline 'Allow students to decide distribution of winnings'. Print Edition | Subscribe