The Department of Basic Education and the Physical Education Institute of South Africa have joined together to promote and improve physical education amongst South Africa’s young people.
The changes to the curriculum has resulted in Physical Education being removed as a stand-alone subject and incorporated into the Life Orientation curriculum. This has led to a drop in physical education participation at schools due to lack of trained practitioners and content understanding of PE.
To counter this, the DBE joined forces with PEISA to address best physical education practice and develop a game plan to ensure that Physical Education was functional and present in all schools.
A two day symposium was held in Cape Town from 01-02 April 2015, themed “Meaningful collaborations for a healthy, active and physically literate South Africa: Our children’s future depends on the action we take now!”
The symposium was an opportunity for educators, researchers, DBE officials, NGOs and community organisations to debate, share and advance the interests of Physical Education implementation.
A study has found that at least half of South African children are not active enough, doing less than an hour of physical activity each day, highlighting the need for an increased focus on Physical Education. The Discovery Healthy Active Kids South African Report Card 2014 also found that, on average, South African children spend almost three hours each day watching TV and are not actively involved.
The symposium was also an opportunity for stakeholders to share best practice and indicate how they, in their own sectors, could advance Physical Education in schools. Improving physical activity in communities was also identified as a critical factor that can improve and motivate learners to remain active throughout their lives.
Speaking at the opening of the symposium, Nozipho Xulu, Director: Enrichment and Sport in Education, told delegates that “it is a myth that there is no longer Physical Education in schools”.
“Up to 50% of the Life Orientation curriculum is allocated to Physical Education and we are here at this symposium, not to discuss policy, but to look at how we can ensure that Physical Education is taking place in schools as prescribed in CAPS,” said Ms Xulu. “We must put our heads together and find ways to better implement DBE policy. It is also important to note that Sport and Physical Education is not the same thing but that they complement each other.”
The symposium also served as a launch for Physical Education Month which will take place from 6 April to 10 May 2015. Physical Education Month will culminate with an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most number of learners doing star jumps for two minutes at various locations on 8 May. Details of the attempt and other activities scheduled for the month have already been distributed to provincial education departments.