Height-based outdoor activities for schools to resume from Feb 2023, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Height-based outdoor activities for schools to resume from Feb 2023

Height-based outdoor adventure learning (OAL) activities for schools will resume from Feb 1, 2023, with enhanced safety measures set in place by the Ministry of Education (MOE).

The resumption of these activities includes a set of three enhanced safety measures.

First, operators offering height-based activities for MOE students must have their facilities accredited regularly by a national sports association or a regional OAL professional body. Schools must engage only accredited operators and qualified instructors for such activities.

Second, there will be a progressive resumption of activities. Challenge course activities, such as zipline, and obstacle courses that require belaying, will resume at a reduced tempo of 50 per cent or less of their normal operational capacity from Feb 1 to March 31, 2023. This is to ensure operators are given time to adjust after a two-year break.

Third, the ministry has appointed and trained staff as OAL activity leaders since early 2022 to oversee the safe and quality delivery of such activities for students.

The Outdoor Adventure Education Council, which was formed in September 2022, has reviewed MOE’s enhanced safety measures and supported the resumption of height-based OAL activities for schools. The council is currently developing national standards to govern the operations and safety of height-based activities across the outdoor education sector, which will be adopted by MOE once they are available.

The ministry has also been conducting refresher sessions and re-certification courses to help instructors keep their certifications current. It will also conduct skills verification sessions in January 2023 to ensure instructors are confident that they can resume challenge course activities safely.

Height-based activities have been suspended since February 2021 following an incident that resulted in the death of 15-year-old Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student Jethro Puah.

Jethro had lost his footing during a high-element activity and lost consciousness while he was suspended by the safety harness in midair. He was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, where he died the next morning.

Following the incident, MOE suspended outdoor activities involving heights for all schools.

Then Education Minister Lawrence Wong had told Parliament in February 2021 that all height-based outdoor educational activities would remain suspended until a review by the MOE was completed.

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