More fun, less stress during PE lessons

More fun, less stress during PE lessons

SINGAPORE - Changes to physical education (PE) in schools here could make PE lessons less stressful, although there are challenges.

The Education Ministry said yesterday that from next year, the National Physical Fitness Award (Napfa) will be conducted once every two years, instead of annually, to give schools time to conduct a wider range of physical activities. And, from 2016, letter grades for the subject will be replaced by performance bands.

A new PE syllabus will also be rolled out for the primary to junior-college levels over the next three years. It aims to encourage students to be active even after leaving school.

Dr Michael Chia, a professor of paediatric exercise physiology at the National Institute of Education, said the moves will make PE "more wholesome and fun". Students can also engage with one another via "game-like activities".

Former PE teacher Rick Wong, 43, said having Napfa once every two years could make fitness seem less forced and more recreational for students. But while students might be engaged in PE, it could be harder for parents to motivate them to be active outside class, in the face of distractions such as computers.

Personal trainer Muhammad Azrie Mohamed Jamin, 26, said Napfa is a good way of motivating kids to be fit. Still, he said if it is conducted once every two years, students might become lazy, ignore it and train "only at the last minute".

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