Saturday, 21 April 2012

17 schools recognised for niches of excellence

By Hon Jing Yi, Channel NewsAsia, 19 Apr 2012

Nine primary schools and eight secondary schools were awarded the Programme for School-Based Excellence and Niche Programme status on Thursday.

One of the schools was Changkat Primary School, whose basketball training and development programme was awarded the status of Programme for School-Based Excellence in Basketball.

Changkat Primary's 1,300 students are exposed to basketball at some point during their time in school as part of the structured programme.

About 200 students in Changkat play basketball as a co-curricular activity, either competitively or for recreation.

The schools that receive the award will get additional funding to raise the quality of their programmes.

They will be given an initial developmental grant of up to S$150,000 over three years and subsequently, a recurrent grant of up to S$50,000 per niche per year.

There are currently 87 programmes offered across the 190 schools that offer niches of excellence.

Changkat Primary said it plans to use the funds to hire basketball coaches, as well as to improve existing facilities and equipment.

"Increasingly, we are using basketball to teach character," the school's principal, Tang-Chim Lee Mai, said.

"When you're losing, do you give up? You continue, all the way to the end. So I think that's where you've got a very good platform."

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education Sim Ann said her ministry is committed to exposing students to different programmes of interests to ensure their holistic development.

"It's about giving our students as broad an exposure as possible. It's also about choice, it's about widening the types, different types of schools that we have," Ms Ann said.

"I think this underlies our commitment towards the holistic development of students, and also in ensuring that every school is a good school, every school would have different areas of excellence and different programs of interests that they can develop and offer to students."

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