Netizens suggest students should be afforded choice to opt out from high-element activities in school camps

Netizens suggest students should be afforded choice to opt out from high-element activities in school camps

All schools have suspended outdoor activities involving heights such as rock climbing and rope obstacles with immediate effect, following the death of a student who fell during a high-element activity at Safra Yishun last week, The Straits Times reported.

The boy, aged 15 from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) was taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) after the incident at about 2 pm on 3 February and was pronounced dead the next morning.

The police said in a statement on 4 Feb that the victim had “allegedly lost his footing while participating in a high-element course, but was suspended by the safety harness and subsequently lost consciousness when he was lowered to the ground”.

Camp programmes were first offered by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in April 2016 as part of Singapore’s National Outdoor Adventure Education Masterplan, including a new five-day multi-school Secondary 3 cohort camp.

Students participate in about two or three school cohort camps at upper primary and secondary levels, which provide them with the authentic outdoor environments — including high-element activities involving students clearing an obstacle course at a height — to apply their learning.

These experiences obtained during these camps are believed able to instil resilience, ruggedness, tenacity and ability to work well in teams in students so that they will be confident to seize future opportunities and tackle challenges together to build a better nation.

Following this incident, netizens on Facebook opined that high-element activities should not be made compulsory for students to join, especially those with “phobias”, as these activities can be “a mental torture” and pose pressure to them to do well among peers.

Several others also suggested many other options should be made available for students to participate in order to build their characters, saying that forcing them to join high-element activities could be “traumatising” for the students.

Meanwhile, many others said that these activities are necessary, provided that safety procedures are enhanced, as accidents can happen at all times.

Safety protocols should be “reviewed and reassessed” to avoid accidents from repeating in the future, they said, with one netizen stressing that people should “be prepared, not scared”.

Many users also suggested that these activities should be continued.

One commenter said that students do not deserve to get the learning benefits gained from these camps to be stripped away from them.

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