Make students do community service instead

A student volunteer sweeping the floor of an indoor sports hall.
A student volunteer sweeping the floor of an indoor sports hall.PHOTO: ST FILE

Safety concerns were rightly pointed out by Mr Goh Chin Leng in his letter (Don't make school expedition camps compulsory, Feb 15). But another issue with school expedition camps is that lessons on teamwork and overcoming challenges are taught in an unrealistic context.

The fears and challenges students face today tend to surface in the context of cyber-bullying, fear of social isolation, pressures from the demands of expectations or encountering inappropriate adult behaviour.

Learning to canoe or scale high elements in camp does not equip students to deal with such fears.

Developing teamwork skills should not be a justification for school expedition camps as there are ample opportunities for students to learn to work as a team through daily school activities.

Co-curricular activities and community service also enable students to learn about teamwork and to interact with students from other schools. Community service enables students to learn more about the disadvantaged, develop empathy and contribute to the needs of the underprivileged.

The costs and resources spent on school expedition camps can be better channelled towards helping the needy.

In view of these, such camps should either be replaced with community service activities or, at the very least, not be made compulsory.

Yong Su Lin (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 25, 2019, with the headline 'Make students do community service instead'. Print Edition | Subscribe