Who’s not pulling their weight?

2011-11-12 18:49

No wonder schoolteachers are confused about whether they should be teaching physical education – top health and education department officials can’t seem to work it out either.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said reintroducing it in the school curriculum is recommended in a United Nations declaration calling on governments to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases by 2013.

Not so, said the basic education department this week – it’s already “an extra-curricular activity”.

Department spokesperson Hope Mokgatlhe said: “Physical education is part of life skills in the foundation phase and is catered for in the schools’ timetable throughout the curriculum in other phases as well.”

Still sounds like a contradiction?

While the department was concerned about the growing number of overweight pupils, it said it wasn’t incumbent on schools to have a physical education period.

“Although, currently, physical education isn’t compulsory, the department encourages all schools to take part in sport as a way of promoting the health and well-being of learners in support of quality learning and teaching,” she said.

A report released this year says fewer than 70% of high school pupils have regularly scheduled physical education. The figure is even lower in poor primary schools.

But Motsoaledi said in an exclusive interview this week: “We’re bringing back physical education (in schools). It should be included in the curriculum next year.”

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