Members of the Singapore Taekwondo Federation giving a demonstration of the martial art at the inaugural opening ceremony of the National School Games yesterday. Taekwondo will be making its debut in this year's National School sports calendar. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
MOE to launch a new sports excellence plan in April
By Gerard Wong
THE Ministry of Education (MOE) will cast its net wider to reach out to promising student athletes and help them realise their sporting potential.
Starting in April, it will set up new centralised training centres called Youth Sports Academies (YSA) for selected sports to provide a high level of training for secondary, junior college and Millennia Institute students.
For a start, there will be three such centres at Bedok South Secondary, Meridian Junior College and the ministry's Co-curricular Activities Branch (CCAB) in Evans Road. Each centre can take in about 90 to 100 students.
They will offer training in badminton, wushu and table tennis respectively.
Currently, the Singapore Sports School, set up by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports in 2004, is the only secondary school specialising in the development of talented student athletes.
The Woodlands-based boarding school takes in up to 150 students each year. Students are given not only high-level training and sports-science support but also a flexible academic system that helps them to balance their sport training with their studies.
JUNIOR SPORTS ACADEMIES
What they are: Centralised sports training centres for talented primary school athletes. They were started by the Ministry of Education in 2008. There are 12 JSAs housed in selected schools and national sports association training halls.
Who are they for: Selected Primary Five students who have outstanding sports results or Napfa physical fitness scores.
What is the training like: Between two and four times a week, after normal school hours or on weekends.
What are the sports offered: Badminton, fencing, football, netball, shooting, swimming, table tennis, track and field and wushu.
YOUTH SPORTS ACADEMIES
What they are: Centralised sports training centres for talented student athletes from secondary schools, junior colleges and the Millennia Institute. Three YSAs - Bedok South Secondary, Meridian Junior College and the Co-Curricular Activities Branch - will be launched in April.
Who they are for: Talented students whose chosen sport is not offered by the Sports School or who may prefer to go to a school in the regular system that does not offer their sport as a niche area.
What is the training like: Like the JSA programmes, the YSA programmes will be conducted after school hours.
What are the sports offered: Badminton, wushu and table tennis for now.