OBS good, but safety must be top priority

I support a compulsory Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) programme for two main reasons ("OBS a must? Many parents back it but..."; yesterday).

First, our young spend too much time staring at the computer or mobile phone screens.

They need to get out into the open for fresh air and physical activity, to improve their health and to give their eyes a break from staring at computer screens.

Second, OBS programmes offer the best opportunity for students to interact and build new friendships, learn teamwork and develop ruggedness.

However, the authorities must make safety the first priority in all such programmes.

Parents will support and have confidence in compulsory OBS programmes only if the authorities can show that safety measures are adequate and will be strictly enforced.

Bearing in mind that young people do not all have the same physical abilities, the authorities should be mindful of planning activities that are age and ability appropriate.

Youngsters who are deemed not suitable for OBS should have the choice to opt out.

Tan Ho Gian

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2016, with the headline 'OBS good, but safety must be top priority'. Print Edition | Subscribe