Wed, Apr 09, 2008
my paper
More schools hire external sports service providers

GONE are the days when physical education (PE) in schools was just calisthenics and running.

Now, students can participate in multiple sports such as ultimate frisbee, inline skating and trampoline. And more schools are hiring external sports service providers to provide coaching in these sports.

The Singapore Sports Council (SSC) said these are to supplement the schools' PE programmes and co-curriculum activities (CCA).

This year, 347 schools have applied to hire service providers under the Sports Education Programme (SEP), as compared to 322 last year.

Under the SEP, which was launched in 2006, schools are given a $10,000 grant from the Ministry of Education and SSC to choose programmes from an endorsed list of sports providers.

Three schools my paper spoke to - Nan Chiau Primary, St. Hilda's Primary and Kheng Cheng School - said that engaging sports service providers offered variety and fun for their students. PE teachers benefited as well - they learnt different sports and coaching tips for their own lessons.

Teachers my paper spoke to were decidedly in favour of hiring service providers.

Said North Vista Secondary School teacher, Ms Tan Li Xiang, 29: "Hiring service providers comes in handy as teachers can?t always have the necessary expertise to teach every sport."

Said Miss Serene Ng, a proficient frisbee player and teacher at Tanjong Katong Girls' Primary School: "Some teachers prefer to hire external providers so that they can be free to concentrate on other areas of their work."

Miss Ng, 27, was able to focus on her main CCA, badminton, when the school hired external frisbee coaches this year.

Meanwhile, some service providers are reaping the benefits of this increase in hiring.

While they did not provide specific figures, Inline Culture, an inline skating provider, told my paper that its revenue from schools has tripled since it started in 2002.

And it's not just skating.

Mr Rahim Resad, 38 , an ultimate frisbee sports provider in schools, said: "More schools are approaching us to run our programmes during PE. When I first started out in 2003, I had just one school. Last year, I had 28."

SSC also reported an increase in the number of sports service providers under the SEP - 201 this year, compared to 174 last year.

But there's a catch - how much emphasis on safety do external service providers place?

SSC clarified that only approved coaching-certified instructors, who are proficient in their respective sports, and who are first-aid certified, are engaged by schools under the SEP.


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