Sports coaches have welcomed a move to improve the quality of their fraternity at the school and grassroot levels.
This follows an announcement by the authorities that it will be mandatory for them to join the National Registry of Coaches (NROC) from Jan 1 next year.
The NROC is a database of coaches who have been fully certified under the Singapore Coach Excellence Programme (SG-Coach) in their respective sports.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced that all sports co-curricular activities school coaches who are registered with it will have to acquire provisional NROC membership by the deadline. This will ensure that "students who participate in physical sports CCAs can be further assured of quality training experiences".
The same requirement applies to coaches under ActiveSG, the national movement of sport and physical activity. It has about 150 coaches, of whom more than 80 per cent are already NROC members.
A Sport Singapore (SportSG) spokesman said: "SportSG is delighted that MOE is doing likewise so as to ensure a higher quality of coaching in Singapore."
If the school needs to check how credible a coach is, they don't have to call around to find out - the NROC will have all the details.
ADRIAN CHONG, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) rugby coach, espousing the benefits of introducing the National Registry of Coaches.
SportSG had introduced provisional NROC membership for all sports coaches in Singapore last month. ActiveSG coaches who are not provisional NROC members can take up provisional membership first before working towards gaining full membership over the next three years.
Said ActiveSG chief Lai Chin Kwang: "Ensuring that all our coaches possess a provisional NROC membership will assure our participants that our sports programmes will continue to be of high quality.
"More than just technical skills, we also want participants in our programmes to bring back with them life skills and values that will be useful to them beyond sports."
Rugby coach and NROC member Adrian Chong is looking forward to a more "streamlined" way of establishing coaches' credentials.
"If the school needs to check how credible a coach is, they don't have to call around to find out - the NROC will have all the details," said 49-year-old Chong, who is the head coach of the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) rugby team.
"There will also be greater accountability so nobody can just claim to be a coach without providing the necessary paperwork and qualifications. It helps schools make more informed choices when they want to hire a coach."
Chong's point is pertinent, for in 2005, the Singapore Sports Council (the precursor to SportSG) released a report which showed that nearly a quarter (23.4 per cent) of some 740 school coaches surveyed had no formal training.
Only 40.5 per cent had undergone some National Coaching Accreditation Programme (NCAP) certification - the national standard for coaching qualifications then.
Tennis coach Andrew Mah, 60, who coaches CHIJ Toa Payoh and Catholic Junior College, noted that coaches can also benefit from being NROC-registered.
"If I need assistance in projects that I can't undertake on my own, I can also go to the NROC website to engage coaches to help," he said.
NROC members also gain access to professional development courses offered by SportSG and national sports associations.
ActiveSG Football Academy coach Hairil Amin, 40, also trains the Nanyang Polytechnic and Ang Mo Kio Secondary School teams. He enjoys the seminars that NROC-registered coaches can attend. "As coaches, we must be willing to adapt to change and take on different approaches to things like sports science and training principles," he said.