SINGAPORE - We thank Mr Keith Wee ("Review system for NSmen who fail IPPT"; Sept 9), Mr Yeo Yujin ("Let's not make life even more difficult for NSmen"; Forum Online, last Saturday), Mr Elgar Lee ("Review incentives for passing IPPT"; last Saturday), Dr Yik Keng Yeong ("Don't take soft options when going gets tough"; Forum Online, last Saturday) and Mr Lee Kek Chin ("Incentive to pass IPPT: Good health"; Tuesday) for their feedback.
The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) recognises that operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen) have to balance the demands of work, family and national service duties. Mindef and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) are therefore committed to helping them train for and achieve their required fitness standards.
The Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) serves as a baseline measure of physical fitness. It comprises various stations designed to measure different components of physical fitness. Appropriate standards are set according to the gender and age of our personnel.
To help NSmen prepare for the IPPT, the SAF has implemented the enhanced IPPT Preparatory Training (IPT), a voluntary programme designed to improve fitness levels by setting progressive personal performance targets. NSmen who achieve their targets within the first nine months from the start of their IPPT window will not have to attend remedial training, even if they fail to meet the IPPT standards.
The SAF has set up four fitness conditioning centres, which serve as one-stop centres for fitness testing and training for NSmen, in Khatib, Maju, Bedok and Kranji. We have also enhanced more than 100 fitness corners with IPPT training facilities across Singapore, as part of the IPPT-in-your-community initiative, which NSmen can make use of to train at their own convenience.
It is the duty of NSmen to meet their annual IPPT requirement as their physical fitness is critical to the SAF's operational readiness. For NSmen who have attained good results in their IPPT, we recognise their efforts by giving a small monetary sum.
We are encouraged by Dr Yik's support for the IPPT system and his comment that standards should not be lowered for the sake of convenience. We also welcome Mr Lee's view that achieving a healthy body is an incentive in itself to perform well in the IPPT.
Once again, we thank the various NSmen for their feedback. The SAF seeks to continue improving our fitness training system as well as regularly reviews our IPT and remedial training programmes to ensure their efficiency and effectiveness.
Ng Ying Thong (Colonel)
Assistant Chief of General Staff (Training)
Singapore Armed Forces
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