No CCA selection trials at some schools this year: Ong Ye Kung

Sports activities in Singapore schools. (FILE PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Education (MOE) will remove selection trials for co-curricular activities (CCA) at selected primary schools this year, as part of a pilot study to provide more students with the opportunity to participate in a CCA of their choice.

The pilot study was announced by Education Minister Ong Ye Kung on Tuesday (21 January) at the Singapore Sports Hub during the opening ceremony of this year’s National School Games, which will run from January to August.

“We want to present wider options to students to cater to the diverse CCA interests and talents of students,” he said during his speech at the opening ceremony.

“The traditional way to do this is to offer more CCA options in school. But there is a limit to doing so, and more options in school also mean it is harder for each CCA to have a critical number of participants. So there is a challenge there. This is really the reason schools conduct selection trials for CCAs – so as to spread students across CCAs to make them sustainable. So ironically, more options can actually lead to fewer choices for students.

“We will therefore need to think outside the box, and offer wider options through other means.”

Centrally-run CCAs, inter-school collaborations

To offer such wider CCA options, MOE has embarked on a three-year pilot project since last year with Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth to study the feasibility of providing centrally-run CCAs, or Strategic Partnerships CCAs (SP-CCAs).

This will allow students whose schools do not have sufficient numbers to set up the CCAs to combine and interact with peers from other schools and different backgrounds to enjoy their CCAs.

For a start, MOE is piloting SP-CCAs for athletics and ethnic dance.

The ministry will also continue to support inter-school CCA collaborations. This could mean two schools running a CCA programme together and, where appropriate, form a combined team to participate in inter-school competitions such as the National Sports Games.

Alternatively, schools can explore shorter-term collaborations, through which their students can participate in ad-hoc inter-school events.

Further details on the enhancements to CCA experiences will be shared later in the year.

Enhancing sports, outdoor facilities at schools

Ong also announced that MOE will be enhancing facilities for physical education, sports and outdoor education at government and government-aided schools.

This will better support opportunities for unstructured play for the students even beyond curriculum time, allowing them to use sports/outdoor facilities and equipment during recess time or after school hours.

Under the enhancement programme, primary and secondary schools will be provided with acrylic-coated surfaces for outdoor play courts, which are more conducive and safer for physical activities and sports. Each school will also have up to four additional basketball boards.

The size of playgrounds in primary schools and MOE kindergartens will also be increased where feasible.

The enhancements will be implemented in phases from 2020, and are expected to be completed by 2024. By 2024, all primary and secondary schools will also be equipped with three covered play courts each, to minimise disruption to PE lessons and outdoor CCAs during bad weather.

On Tuesday, over 150 student-athletes played their first matches in the National School Games season. MOE said that the number of participants in the Games has from 20,000 in 1986 to an estimated 60,000 student-athletes across 29 sports this year.

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