SINGAPORE - National service-bound men from polytechnics and Institutes of Technical Education (ITE) could take the National Physical Fitness Assessment (Napfa) test a year earlier, under proposed changes to raise their fitness levels.
Those who fail to attain at least a silver award - the minimum fitness requirement for pre-enlistees - will then be put through a programme to get them in shape before they report for duty, said Second Defence Minister Chan Chun Sing yesterday.
Currently, polytechnic and ITE students take the Napfa test in their final year of studies, with some even leaving it till two weeks before they are enlisted. About 60 per cent of them fail to get at least silver.
Mr Chan said the Singapore Armed Forces is exploring with the schools a scheme similar to the military's voluntary fitness programme, which allows less-fit NSmen to prepare for the Individual Physical Proficiency Test.
Mr Chan also said the army will need 15 per cent more regulars to replace full-time national servicemen who now serve as instructors in training schools such as the Basic Military Training Centre, freeing up the latter to take up combat roles in ground units. He said the new hires may include retired SAF personnel and women and civilian contractors.
He was speaking to reporters after meeting the Support for NS Panel on how to improve NS training.
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