SINGAPORE - The Singapore Sports School (SSP) did not meet three of its sporting, academic and student well-being targets in 2016 and one in 2017, but met all 14 last year, said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu in Parliament on Tuesday (Nov 5).
Ms Fu was responding to Nominated MP and para swimmer Yip Pin Xiu's questions on the targets set for the SSP and whether it had achieved them in the past three years.
The sports school is measured by 14 targets, said Ms Fu, and these include "the percentage of student-athletes selected to represent Singapore in international open competitions annually and the percentage of the school's graduating cohort eligible to advance to higher education".
Officially opened by then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in April 2004, the SSP is a specialised independent school under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) which offers students with sporting talent an avenue to reach their potential.
Ms Fu said: "To this end, the school provides a strong academic and sport development programme that meets the needs of its students, develops their character and enables them to excel in their sport".
At the 2017 SEA Games, 104 out of the 560-strong Singapore contingent - or 19 per cent - were former or current SSP student-athletes and they contributed to 31 per cent of the medals won. For the upcoming edition in the Philippines, 101 athletes (62 former, 39 current) out of the 647-member contingent are from the SSP.
SSP has also consistently performed better than the national average in terms of the percentage of students who passed five or more subjects at the GCE O levels, and better than the global average in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme score, said the minister.
Responding to Ms Yip's questions on the progress of the recommendations outlined in the Disability Sports Master Plan, Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Sim Ann said that SportSG has set up four Centres of Expertise in Bedok, Jurong West, Sengkang and Toa Payoh, opened seven inclusive gyms and introduced a range of disability sports programmes.
Sports participation among persons with disabilities has also grown from 28 per cent in 2015 to 51 per cent last year. SportSG's current batch of 27 spexScholars includes 10 para athletes and those competing at next year's Asean Para Games have also received campaign funding to prepare for the event. The Spex scholarship provides an enhanced level of support for athletes to excel at the Asian, world and Olympic levels.
SportSG has also partnered the International Paralympic Committee to grow the number of the disability sports coaches here, and almost 500 coaches, 300 SportSG staff and 1,600 volunteers have completed the relevant courses, said Ms Sim.
While she noted that the authorities have made good progress, Ms Sim said that they are "continually exploring how to augment the impact" and welcome ideas and suggestions from the sports and special needs communities.