The DBE and the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC), organised a two-day Sports Indaba to engage various representatives of teacher unions, sports federations, international bodies and governments on the future of the School Sport Programme in South Africa. The Indaba was officially addressed by the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Mr Zizi Kodwa, at Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre on 14 September 2023. The DBE and the DSAC have identified the school sports programme as one of the key levers to unleash sporting talents amongst learners at various phases of the schooling system. The Indaba was intended to unify the school sport sector and to develop a national programme for South Africa, benchmarked against the world’s most effective school sport programmes. The Indaba further acknowledged Government's focus on grassroots sports development through early identification and nurturing of sporting talent in education.
Briefing the Indaba on the strides made by the DBE and the DSAC in terms of implementing the school sport programme, Mr Sifiso Ngobese, Director for Sport and Enrichment in Education, said that the two departments have produced a draft implementation protocol, which focuses on 22 areas of cooperation. “Physical Education as one of the vital areas of school sports is currently offered as part of Life Orientation/Life skills which is a compulsory curriculum offering. Capacity building programmes are also organised to support teachers and subject specialists with gaps identified in research reports. Although the two departments have succeeded in conducting sporting activities in schools ranging from Autumn to Summer Games, we need to do more to promote mass participation in school sport; improve the quality of arts, culture and music education and training in schools; promote enrichment programmes that enhance social cohesion, cultural identity and talent identification; and facilitate and support the implementation of physical education in schools. The Indaba deliberated structured capacity building programmes for teachers and the need to support teachers in the implementation of Physical Education. In addition, the Indaba discussed the incremental introduction of a conditional grant to support sport in Quintile 1-3 schools. We should also ensure that sport and physical education equipment are part of the LTSM catalogue”.
In his address, Minister Kodwa reminded the Indaba that in November 2011, sports luminaries, activists, leaders and sport administrators gathered at Gallagher Estate to chart a new way for the transformation of South African sport. “For South Africa to realise the dream of a non-racial, non-sexist, equal, and democratic society, we needed the agency to design and implement a system predicated on a philosophy of, among other dimensions outlined in the Transformation Charter: the provision of sports infrastructure and facilities; breaking barriers to access; increasing participation; and promoting representation and equity. Over a decade has passed since 2011, and we gather here to take stock of the road travelled since the adoption of the National School Sport Programme”.
Minister Kodwa added that, “according to the EPG 2018 report, the School Sport competition system indicates three streams from which talent is identified and competition is staged: a Government-run school sport system; a model where former Model C schools and private schools compete and where most athletes are identified; and then there is a system which the Federations use to stage the tournaments and select national athletes. This system is currently not integrated and has challenges. The athletes competing in the Government-run school sport system, are from 23,000 public schools, the majority of which are previously disadvantaged with poor or no sport facilities in place and no proper coaching support. The second group are athletes from the former Model-C schools, including private schools which are properly resourced with world-class sport facilities and proper coaching support. As part of the Indaba, we must review and assess the School Sport Programme to map a way forward on policy directives to determine the role and responsibilities of various stakeholders to lay the foundation for the review of the National Sport and Recreation Plan”.