Schools Need PE

Editor – Allow me space in your paper to share my views on the need for proper physical education (PE) lessons in our schools. The year is coming to an end and I have the following to say:
Firstly, let me salute Namibia’s Education Ministry for its efforts in encouraging PE in our schools.
Back in the days of apartheid, sport united a lot of people in our country. Every weekend schools competed against each other in various sport codes, not only football.
Parents supported that too, they became regular spectators at match days.
Believe me, streets were left empty, bars closed, hence crime rate was very low. Today, 22 years after Independence, it’s the opposite.
PE, the once-loved activity, is now a shadow of its former self. Schools were well equipped, and well-managed. Today, go around Namibian schools and see if you can still find such schools.
Most schools are not the same anymore, thereby depriving thousands of learners their right to a complete education which includes PE.
What are the results? Streets are filled with youths, there is a high crime rate, and a lot of drug and alcohol abuse among other ills.
Virtually all schools are without basic provisions, equipment, teaching and learning materials for PE. Many PE teachers are under-qualified and/or inexperienced, they have either stopped teaching it or do it against their will (I do not blame them).
The Ministry of Education has developed a syllabus for PE, signalling the importance of PE in our education curriculum. This was followed by the University of Namibia’s Faculty of Education which is now training PE teachers.
The big question is where will these graduates teach if only a few schools are offering PE on a full-time basis? As it stands now, PE is a non-promotional subject.
The future of this country depends on today’s youth. With so many youths roaming the streets day and night as it is, I’ll not be surprised that Namibia will one day become the biggest street in the world instead of a country!
I once read an advert that stated: “A Child in Sport is a Child out of Court.”
Why can’t we stick to this philosophy? So many crimes are being committed today by youths who are supposed to be on the basketball court, or volleyball court etc.
There are many ways one can reap the benefits of PE.
PE can contribute also to a better quality of life and promote well-being and a healthy lifestyle for the young and old alike.
PE teaches young people life lessons within the realm of values, respect and teamwork.
So we need a stronger foundation of PE at primary school and then have it emphasised throughout high school.
Let’s not wait to strike when the iron is hot, rather let us make the iron hot by striking it. Let 2013 be the year of the success of PE!

• Rengi Phillemon

Ohangwena, Namibia

November 2012
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