Power of Physical Education and School Sport for Human Development
Providing regular opportunities for physical activity and play enhance overall physical fitness and help to alleviate stress. Sport-based projects can contribute to the fulfillment of the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standards of health.
The opportunity to participate in and enjoy sport and play is a human right that must be promoted, supported and advocated.
Sport is a human right as per the article of the Charter of Physical Education and Sport adopted by UNESCO in 1978. The charter states: ‘The practice of Physical Education and Sport is a fundamental human right for all’.
Importance of Physical Education (PE) and School Sport
PE and School Sport can majorly contribute to agendas such as educational achievement, public health, community cohesion and of course sporting performance at the highest level. Sports, physical education, education and health are interlinked and together contribute significantly to holistic human resource development. Within schools, physical education is an essential component of quality education. Not only do physical education and sport programmes promote physical activity, there is evidence that such programmes co-relate to improved academic performance.
Given that rates of physical activity tend to decrease from adolescence, it is imperative that young people in primary schools gain an appreciation of Physical Education and School Sport in order to ensure life long active and healthy living.
Status: Physical Education in Indian schools
Health and Physical Education, having components of health education, physical education and yoga are an integral part of school curriculum in India. Majority of the schools have Physical Education teachers at the secondary level (Classes 6-10) and hence physical education is not taught at the primary level whereas Sport and Play is one of the most distinctive features of early childhood. Through play, children both enjoy and challenge their current capacities, whether they are playing alone or with others. The value of creative play and exploratory learning is widely recognized in early childhood education.
Providing regular opportunities for physical activity and play enhance overall physical fitness and help to alleviate stress.
Sport-based projects can contribute to the fulfillment of the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standards of health. With the enactment of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 (RTE Act) all schools (privte, Government and aided) are mandated to provide free and compulsory child-friendly education to all 6-14 year olds across India. The importance of health and physical development has been emphasized in the National Curriculum Framework as: ‘Physical development supports mental and cognitive development especially in young children. The curriculum must have a holistic approach to learning and development that is able to see the interconnections and transcend divisions between physical and mental development’. Most schools have put in place physical education teachers/coaches in upper primary school as mandated in the schedule of the RTE Act but a huge gap that needs to be addressed is to build on the experiences of the work in primary schools to ensure a robust sports and physical education programme in upper primary and secondary schools.
Two key factors that will strengthen this area in schools are (i) development of aids/ resources in line with the curriculum and (ii) capacity development of teachers to use the resources in classroom teaching.
The Physical Education Cards Programme – (PEC –India)
The PEC –India programme uses the power of inclusive physical education and sport to develop fundamental skills in a progressive manner for children across all abilities. Skills are based on Agility, Balance and Coordination, Speed and Strength.
These skills when developed in an appropriate manner equip the child to choose their own sport and the level to which they would like to be involved besides social, mental and cognitive skills. Children not interested in sports develop a healthy attitude towards fitness as a way of life. The programme is focused on building personal attributes such as confidence, self esteem, ambition, high aspiration, good behavior, understanding and respect of rules, health and well being, good relationships with others, appreciation of ethics and fair play and ability to cope with winning and losing experiences.
The PEC strategy is based on the premise that every child matters and also that physical education, games and sport can develop skills like observation skills, analytical skills, evaluation, leadership and team work skills, communication skills, emotional and intrapersonal intelligence and motor skills that are relevant in other areas of the curriculum for holistic development.
The PEC resources have been designed to be used by non specialist primary teachers, with the support of specialist physical education teachers during the PE periods. They are designed to inspire teachers to join in with the children and have fun with them while helping them to learn and become physically confident and socially competent. PEC is a progressive set of teaching resources outlining physical activities and challenges that are suitable for the different ages and stages of children’s physical development and cognitive understanding.
The programme developed by International and Indian experts has been endorsed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport, National Council for Education Research and Training and Central Board of Secondary Education.
- Physical Education Cards– a set of colorful cards with instructions for delivering fun, safe and inclusive organized physical education sessions. The cards focus on providing activities that are easy to organize with large groups of children hence engaging every child in the class.
- PEC Kit Sets of various sport equipment that can be used with the cards targeting different age groups and levels of difficulty.
- PEC Primary and PE Teacher Training Programme For the schools integrating PEC in their curriculum, it is essential to undergo a mandatory training to understand the PEC philosophy and the mechanism to use the PEC resources.
The use of the PEC resources will
- Empower the primary and physical education teachers to transact the Physical Education Curriculum in schools and raise their confidence levels.
- Provide students access to quality physical education and school sport across all abilities thereby ensuring participation of all students in physical activities, games and sports.
- Enable all students to develop motor and cognitive skills, fundamental movement skills of Agility, Balance and Coordination (ABC of Sport).
- Provide opportunities to develop responsible, personal and social behavior by working in groups and independently of the teacher.
- Provide suggestions to teachers of ways in which language, mathematical and scientific learning can be included and reinforced in meaningful contexts during the physical education lessons
- Provide opportunity to the young people to realize their areas of strengths in sports and if they would like to participate beyond school or develop a healthy attitude towards physical fitness.
- Provide schools an extra advantage. Attaining higher levels of overall achievement by developing skills through physical education and sport.
Child friendly schools have the potential to improve student attendance and retention which in turn has a direct corelation with the learning levels, completion of elementary cycle, transition to secondary schools, particularly of girls. This will help in advocating for mainstreaming physical education with dedicated time in the regular school routine Physical Education and sport are global phenomena that transcend language, religion and culture. The PEC programmes focus is on creating a leading PE and sport system that reaches, inspires and engages all young people to raise standards, achievement and attainment across all subjects irrespective of age, abilities, gender, religion or culture.
PEC India trainings have been carried across more than 1500 schools and 20, 000 teachers. The promotion and implementation of the programme needs to be stepped up. The Shipley Foundation for Social Impact along with partners Special Olympics Bharat are providing Inclusive PEC training in schools. Motivational sessions on power of play and school sport for School Development, Leadership development through Sport, Removing gender discrimination using Sport and Skill Development through Sport in an inclusive manner are part of the services on offer.
Enquiries @ shipleyfoundation@ gmail.com
Mona Shipley is a Social entrepreneur, Change maker and Sport for Development expert with over 18 years of progressive experience in education sector. Formerly at the British Council for over 15 years she has expertise in Business Development with Private/ public sector and strategic engagement with Ministries and Policy heads in India and UK. She has headed various transformative, bilateral programmes leading to reforms within the schools, higher education and vocational education sectors. Physical Education Cards, PEC and Connecting Classrooms are some of the key innovative programmes meeting global standards she led on with a buy-in from MHRD and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sport. Other key organisations she worked with closely are UNICEF, UNESCO, DFID, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), London Olympics Organising Committee (LOCOG) Youth Sport Trust, UK Sport, Special Olympics, National College of School Leadership UK, School Standards Inspectorate bodies OFSTEAD and Qualifications and Curriculum Authority QCA , UK. She has represented India and the British Council as a speaker on various National and International forums. Is an Aspen institute of Leadership Scholar – awarded to leading thinkers, innovators contributing to their country’s development.