Physical Education is a key subject that ensures that each student is physically fit and holistically developed. Through Physical Education, it is hoped that each student would maintain a lifelong exercising habit and continue to lead a healthy lifestyle even after graduation from schools.
As Physical Education is an important component of our education system, it is carried out at the main stages of education, from Primary to Secondary and Pre-University. The young age at which Physical Education starts from allows children to develop a healthy lifestyle from young.
Physical Education is also a platform on which students can develop their interpersonal skills, social skills, team dynamics and psychomotor skills.
Aims of Physical Education
The Physical Education curriculum in Singapore is designed based on a set of aims that it is to accomplish.
Physical Education aims to cultivate in students the habit of exercising and to enjoy a variety of sports and games. Physical Education also emphasizes on character building, encouraging students to develop the spirit of fair play in their games. It is hoped that students would learn more about sportsmanship in the classes.
A large focus is also placed on that of safety concerns. Through Physical Education, pupils are educated to recognize dangers of sports and games, and to demonstrate awareness of safety consideration for themselves and for others around them.
Curriculum Overview (Primary)
At the lower primary level, Physical Education mainly concentrates on developing the young child’s fundamental movements and psychomotor skills. Lower primary pupils would be doing more of fundamental movements such as educational gymnastics and dance. Through these activities, the pupils in lower secondary would be able to hone their basic psychomotor skills and develop ease in performing simple physical activities such as dances.
In the upper primary levels, the focus of physical education would take a shift and start concentrating on introducing basic game concepts to the students. However, the basic psychomotor skills of the pupils would not be forgotten either. Upper primary physical education will instead bring the training of psychomotor skills to a higher level, refining their skills through a wide range of physically demanding activities.
In the primary levels, the basic areas of physical education that are covered include Educational Gymnastics, Dance, Health and Fitness Management, Games and Athletics.
Curriculum Overview (Secondary)
In the secondary school years that pupils go through, the emphasis is no longer on developing psychomotor skills and introducing game concepts. Instead, the focus would be on the mastery of games. Pupils would be encouraged to refine and hone their skills in the games and eventually reach a certain mastery and confidence in playing the game.
In addition, the physical activities that are done in secondary schools would also be geared towards character building and leadership training, which are essential traits that students should develop. Through team sports, it is hoped that students would gradually develop a competitive spirit and take the initiative in leading the team.
The basic areas of physical education that are covered in the secondary school years include Track and Field, Swimming, Territorial Games, Striking Games and Net Games.
Curriculum Overview (Pre-University)
At pre-university levels, the focus of Physical Education once again changes. The emphasis of Physical Education in pre-university colleges is on that of specialization and refinement of mastery levels.
Pupils would be encouraged to take up a certain selection of sports and games that they are interested in. Pupils would then attend classes on these selected sports and proceed to master these sports at a higher level. Through this specialization, it is hoped that pupils would choose to take up a sport that they like for lifelong pursuits.
The basic areas of physical education that are covered in the pre-university years include Health and Fitness Management, Dance, Swimming and Individual Challenges.
The National Physical Fitness Award (NAPFA) test was introduced in 1982 as a gauge of a student’s physical fitness and ability. Through a set of six physically demanding station tests, an overall grade would be derived from the results of each station. The six stations that are tested in the NAPFA test are Bent-knee Sit-ups, Standing Broad Jump, Inclined Pull-ups or Pull-ups, Shuttle Run, Sit and Reach Forward and the 1.6km or 2.4km run.
The NAPFA test is taken by all physically well students in local schools. The test is only applicable to pupils in Primary 4 and above. The standard requirements of the test would be different for each of the age groups. The level of difficulty generally increases with the pupil’s age.
In the sit-up station, pupils are required to do as many sit-ups as they can in a period of 60 seconds. The higher the number of sit-ups that the pupil managed to do, the higher the score given to the pupil.
In the Standing Broad Jump station, pupils are required to jump a distance on the mat and the distance that is between the starting line and the nearest heel is measured. The greater the distance, the higher the points scored.
In the Inclined Pull-ups or Pull-ups station, pupils would be required to perform as many inclined pull-ups or pull-ups as they can within the timeframe of 30 seconds. Pupils aged below 15 years would perform inclined pull-ups while pupils aged 15 and above would perform the pull-ups. The greater the number of pull-ups done, the higher the points scored.
In the Shuttle Run station, pupils would be required to sprint as quickly as possible over a distance of 4x10 metres. In this station, the agility and sprinting ability of pupils would be tested. The faster the time taken, the higher the points scored.
In the Sit and Reach Forward station, pupils would be required to reach forward with their knees straight in a sitting position. The distance between the pupil’s fingertips and the starting mark would be taken. The student’s flexibility and stretching ability would be tested in this station. The greater the distance, the higher the points scored.
In the final station, the 1.6km or 2.4km run, pupils would be required to jog or run the specified distance on a flat, level ground. Pupils in primary school would perform the 1.6km run while pupils in secondary school and pre-university colleges would perform the 2.4km run. The lesser the time taken to complete the run, the higher the points scored.
All stations, except the 1.6km or 2.4km run, must be taken on the same seating for the test to be valid. The run would be taken on a separate day. All stations have an equal weighting in the overall NAPFA grade.
The NAPFA scheme awards Gold, Silver and Bronze awards to all pupils who have successfully passed the test. Grade A would give the pupils 5 points, Grade B would give the pupils 4 points, and so on. The total points achieved would be computed by adding up all the points scored by the pupils in the 6 stations.
To achieve a Gold Award, a minimum of 21 points would be needed, with no station scoring a grade of lower than C.
To achieve a Silver Award, a minimum of 15 points would be needed, with no station scoring a grade of lower than D.
To achieve a Bronze Award, which is the lowest award for a pass, a minimum of 6 points would be needed, with a minimum pass (grade E) in all stations.