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A Partnership As Old As Sports School

Partnership With Republic Polytechnic: Diploma In Business

The partnership between Singapore Sports School and Republic Polytechnic (RP) will mark its 17th year come October 2021. The collaboration between the two institutions was first formalised on 22 October 2004 in a three-way partnership with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) which allowed Sports School student-athletes a through-train pathway to RP and a passageway into NTU after completing their polytechnic diploma.

Back then, student-athletes who opted for the through-train pathway to RP could articulate into the polytechnic’s various courses on their main campus.

A few years later, on 18 November 2009, another agreement was formed with Sports School’s neighbouring polytechnic, to offer a diploma programme on Sports School’s campus. This customised would offer Sports School student-athletes the athlete-friendliness required to pursue high-performance sport, while pursuing a tertiary education at the same time. Thus, the customised Diploma in Sports and Leisure Management (DSLM) was created and commenced in 2011. Among the first batch of student-athletes was former national paddler Isabelle Li Siyun, who went on to graduate in 2014 with a Grade Point Average of 3.98 out of a possible 4.00. She topped the DSLM cohort, including those from RP’s main campus, and was named valedictorian. Her outstanding sport and academic achievements earned her the Public Service Commission (PSC) Scholarship.

To accommodate the demanding training schedule of high-performing student-athletes, the academic structure is tailored so that student-athletes can balance their sport and academic demands. Over the years, many hours and countless discussions have gone in to fine-tune the customised programme so as to better support high-performing student-athletes.

One of the key improvements made allows student-athletes greater ease in applying for deferment and Leave of Absence without compromising on their academic grades. Lesson time was also adjusted to accommodate student-athletes with morning and evening training sessions with the national teams or clubs, while leaving one day a week free of lessons for consultations or project discussions. Another significant change in the collaboration is the switch in programme offering. Student-athletes who enrol in the customised programme from 2020 onwards will pursue a Diploma in Business (DBIZ) with a specialisation in sport management.

Now in its 11th year of offering a customised diploma programme in Sports School, the collaboration continues to benefit a growing number of student-athletes. In fact, it was during the course of their diploma studies that student-athletes and alumni such as sprint queen Veronica Shanti Pereira, Singapore’s top tennis player Muhammad Shaheed Alam Meqsud Alam, national swimmer Maximillian Ang Wei, national paddler Clarence Chew Zhe Yu and national water polo player Goh Wen Zhe have gone on to achieve glory for Singapore in major competitions.

“I know of many athletes who have given up being in the national team because they struggled to keep up with their schoolwork and lacked the support from their schools. Being on Sports School’s customised programme where I take two modules at a time, as compared to the usual five, has helped me cope better with my studies so my sports will not be affected,” said Wen Zhe, a Year 3 student-athlete. Wen Zhe won a bronze medal at the Philippines 2019 Southeast Asian Games during his first year in the post-secondary programme.

The successful partnership will see its 8th graduating batch of student-athletes conferred diplomas from RP in May 2021. Bowler Kieran Tan Wei Zhong emerged top among the 22 graduands from the Class of 2021, which includes fencer Ahmad Huzaifah Saharudin and rhythmic gymnast Jael Chew who have won medals at the Kuala Lumpur 2017 SEA Games.

“The athlete-friendly environment that the customised programme created made it easier for us to understand and absorb what was taught in the diploma. For example, when I went overseas for competitions, the RP lecturers would give me make-up classes to help me to catch up with the rest of my peers,” said Kieran.

“The DSLM provided me with greater insight into the sporting industry, including the gaps in the industry. The use of problem-based learning approach during the programme made lessons much more enjoyable and helped us to better understand what was being taught in class. The willingness of every lecturer to help every single student-athlete progress in class and commitment to deliver lessons with rich content and quality made the learning environment conducive and effective.”

The Early Admission Exercise for admission into polytechnic begins in June 2021. Students taking their GCE O-Level Examinations or in their final year of the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) may apply to join Sports School’s customised diploma programmes. Find out more about the admission process here.