Editor’s note: the following speech was delivered by Dr Benedict Tan, a Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP), during a sitting of Parliament on Friday, March 6, 2015. The speech is posted with his permission.

acsi vs ofs

A friendly game of rugby held in 2012 between Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and Overseas Family School. (Photo © Adrian Tan)

Mdm Speaker, I would like to encourage multi-national interactions amongst youths, through sports. We can do this by bringing together students from local MOE schools and the international schools, increasing interaction and exchanges through sports and games.

Singapore at its core has always been a multicultural, multiethnic, multilingual society. And particular attention has been paid to integration and development of the Singaporean identity since independence.

Over the years, we have seen more and more international schools being set up in Singapore, and expanding. We also have local schools, setting up sister international schools. This may create a divide, but it also presents opportunities.

There are many nationalities living, working and studying in Singapore. To leverage on this cultural diversity, to give greater exposure to Singaporean students, and to be inclusive, I feel that our inter-school competitions or what’s now known as the National School Games, should include international schools as well.

Currently the schools from the two ecosystems – the MOE and the non-MOE schools do not interact much. The platforms and avenues for interaction do not present themselves naturally. Sport offers such a bridge.

Granted, there will be operational challenges, such as the timing of school semesters, vacation periods, fixtures and scheduling, manpower and costs sharing.

But I do believe that the benefits of having a vibrant, inclusive school sports ecosystem will provide many tangible and intangible benefits for the young, and prepare them for increasing globalisation.

Are foreign sports talents the issue or is it the system we have?

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Earlier this year, Dr Ben Tan gave a speech in the Singapore Parliament which resonated with a lot of people. You can read it here.