STUDENTS have various interests and talents, so to mould these skills and hone their potentials, the Education Ministry has provided them several educational pathways.
The Malaysia Sports School or Sekolah Sukan Malaysia (SSM) was established to support a sporting culture through national integration, which is consistent with the National Sports Policy.
The SSM supports the national agenda towards creating a healthy and active nation, a society mindful of being disciplined, productive and united. This agenda requires total support of the masses for the nation to achieve sporting excellence in the international arena.
SSM was established to develop world-class athletes who are also equipped with a sound academic background. Students need to meet stringent requirements and undergo detailed selection processes to gain admission.
The first SSM, established in 1996, is Sekolah Sukan Bukit Jalil at the National Sports Complex. The administration and management of SSM mirrors fully residential schools.
To date there are five SSM in Malaysia: Sekolah Sukan Bukit Jalil (SSBJ), Kuala Lumpur; Sekolah Sukan Tunku Mahkota Ismail (SSTMI), Johor; Sekolah Sukan Malaysia Pahang (SSMP); Sekolah Sukan Malaysia Sabah (SSMS); and Sekolah Sukan Malaysia Terengganu (SSMT).
State Sports School
State Sports School (Sekolah Sukan Negeri, SSN) is a day school with facilities to cater for students who have talents and interest in sports.
SSN is a centre of excellence for sports at state level. Top student athletes are placed here and subsequently enrolled into the Malaysia Sports School if they consistently display high performance.
In 2017, the total number of athletes was 4,549 in relation to the overall enrolment of 8,521 students.
The training programme at SSN is under the supervision of 68 full time coaches and 155 part-time coaches, among skilled and qualified teachers.
SSN Sports Challenge
The Ministry, through the Sports Division, organised the SSN Sports Challenge (SSNSC) for student athletes aged 14 and below to gauge the effectiveness of the SSN as well as to develop future national athletes.
It is hoped that the outcome of this programme will help develop student athletes with a sense of competitiveness and the ability to progress and achieve international excellence.
In 2017, three events were focused upon – track and field, sepak takraw and netball.
High Performance Sports Programme
The High-Performance Sports Programme (Program Sukan Prestasi Tinggi Sekolah, SPTS) provides an opportunity for students interested in sports but wish to pursue their education in mainstream schools.
The SPTS programme focuses on training talented young athletes aged between six and 18 in schools. It also aims to scout and develop potential coaches among teachers.
The SPTS is implemented in the Sports Excellence Centres (Pusat Kecemerlangan Sukan, PKS) and District Training Centres (Pusat Latihan Daerah, PLD) in each state.
There are eight sporting events listed in SPTS – sepak takraw, football, hockey, archery, badminton, athletics, artistic gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics. Beginning 2016, squash was introduced as a high-performance sport in selected schools.
Each state PLD is responsible for conducting one sport under the programme organised by a qualified coach among the teachers. In 2017, a total of 883 PLD conducted the SPTS programme in 144 districts and 712 schools nationwide.
Sports championships at interior schools
The Ministry also conducts various sporting events for students at orang asli schools, and interior areas of Sabah and Sarawak. The aim is to provide opportunity to talented students to compete in a structured competition.
The championships also inculcate the sporting spirit and encourage unity among the orang asli and the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak. It also allows the Ministry to discover talents among students in the interior.
The Orang Asli School Sports Championship
The championship was first held in 2007 with the participation of three states – Pahang, Perak and Kelantan. The following year, Selangor, Johor, Negeri Sembilan and Terengganu joined in, making it a total of seven participating states.
In 2017, 476 students participated in four events – track and field, football, sepak takraw and handball. The overall champion was Kelantan, followed by Perak and Pahang.
Sabah Interior School Sports Championship
This sports championship was first held in 2013 in Keningau. The championship involved schools within 24 districts in the Sabah interior.
Three sporting events were held – track and field, ne tball and sepak takraw. In 2017, the championship was held in Sandakan which hosted 528 students and 208 officers. The district of Keningau emerged as champion in the meet.
Sarawak Indigenous School Sports Championship
This championship was once known as the Penan School Sports Championship. First introduced in 2008, the championship was held among seven schools – SK Long Sait, SK Long Pelutan, SK Long Kevok, SK Long Jekitan, SK Long Luteng, SK Long Lamei dan SK Lusong Laku.
The year 2013 heralded a name change to the Sarawak Interior School Sports Championship. At the suggestion of JPN Sarawak, the championship changed its name once again to the Sarawak Indigenous School Sports Championship. The meet was held among primary schools under the Interior Category III in Sarawak.
In 2017, Sibu was chosen to host the championship. Only the track and field events were held, attracting 528 students and 110 officials. The champion was PPD Song, while second place went PPD Tatau followed by PPD Lubuk Antu in third place.
Champions in their respective events were offered placement in SMK Tabuan Jaya, a Sarawak State Sports School, to hone their talents and expose them to higher levels of competition.
Sports Scholarship Scheme
The Sports Scholarship Scheme is an award from the Ministry for students who represent the country at international competitions. The aim is to attract more students to continue their involvement in sports and subsequently train to achieve their highest level of performance.
The scholarship is awarded to help fund students’ training, appropriate sporting equipment and food supplements. In 2017, a total of 1,951 students nationwide benefited from the scholarship.