Exploring the wonders of the world and challenging our students physically and mentally to build resilience — that’s the essence of Outward Bound Singapore, an adventure-based learning program part of the national curriculum.

To many not familiar with Singapore’s education system, the first question that pops into you head is likely “What is adventure-based learning?”

Rock-climbing, abseiling, sailing, canoeing; imagine learning that in school. Now that’s the dream. Except it isn’t.

With Outward Bound Singapore, Singapore’s national outdoor education programme, students from secondary institutes have had the privilege to attend adventure courses as part of their educational curriculum.

Strawberry generation no more. Initially aimed at building a “rugged society”, Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) was first established in 1967 under the name Outward Bound School upon the suggestion of Dr Goh Keng Swee, Minister for Defence & Interior and the Defence & Deputy Chairman of the People’s Association.

Or would you prefer trekking and volunteering overseas?

With newfound independence and limited resources, Dr Goh believed that a resilient society was the key to ensuring Singapore’s survival. And what better way to inculcate the values of resilience and discipline that through a character-building adventure-based programme incorporated in the education curriculum of our students?

Apartment from resilience and disciplines, OBS is meant to inculcate values that are not taught in school. OBS is also keenly referred to as “Others Before Self”, emphasising on teamwork and cooperation, values not often discussed, much less explored, in many competitive education environments.

Under the care of Singapore’s Ministry of Defence since 1971 for 20 years, it was returned to the care of the People’s Association in 1991, and renamed as Out ward Bound Singapore. However, OBS’ values and purpose “to provide education, leadership and character training; developing the physical, mental and spiritual faculties of boys, girls, young men and women of all races of Singapore” has withstood the test of time and management and, after many decades, still hold true till today.

After all, Singapore’s biggest strength is its people and it certainly pays to invest in character building programmes such as OBS to provide a more holistic education experience.

Engage in physical activities that will challenge both your physical and mental limits.

From abseiling proficiency courses to tropical mountain-walking overseas, there are plenty of activities for the youths of Singapore to engage in to build resilient characters that will serve them well in professional development long after they have left the mandatory education system. These values will see them through life.

According to psychologist Angela Duckworth, the key to success is “Grit”. And OBS, with a focus on resilience and discipline, aims to build just that quality among all our future societal leaders, our children through local and global programs aimed at widening the global horizons of our youth.

“Inspired Individuals, Transformed Communities.”

That’s the vision for Singapore’s future education system, and which will greatly shape Singapore’s society and our leaders.

Are you ready to embrace the revolutionary adventure-based education in Singapore?