Power of sport in schools

Last week the official launch of the Integrated Physical Education and School Sport (IPESS) Advocacy Campaign took place in Windhoek, which will play an important role in the future of school sports.

17 November 2020 | Sports

Mariselle Stofberg and Enzo Amuele

The ministry of education, arts and culture (MoEAC), the ministry of sport, youth and national service together with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German federal ministry for economic development and cooperation and other relevant stakeholders launched the advocacy campaign on the Integrated Physical Education and School Sports (IPESS) programme on 11 November 2020.

The event took place at Van Rhyn Primary School in Windhoek.

The launch of the advocacy campaign on the IPESS programme is aimed to see physical education and school sports become an intrinsic part of all school learners’ overall development and form part of their healthy lifestyle.

According to Ellen Goelz from the German embassy, the campaign is to create awareness of the importance of physical education and school sports throughout the country.

The fully inclusive programme will not just focus on the “very sporty” children, but all children with whatever level of ability will be included.

The MoEAC and the ministry of sport, youth and national service are working with the support of GIZ as well as the private sector.

Green Enterprise Solutions is the IPESS programme first major sponsor and the managing director Kehad Snydewel handed over a cheque of the total sum of N$350 000 as a Gold sponsor.

Insuring improved implementation of IPESS

In 2017, the MoEAC signed a Terms of Reference with the ministry of sport, youth and national service whereby both ministries made the commitment to ensure improved implementation of integrated physical education and school sports.

Since then, the ministries, with the assistance of their development partners, have made great strides in this endeavour.

They have developed two Physical Education 4 Life manuals, one for grade 10 and 11, which was launched last year, and one for pre-primary to grade 3, which will soon be launched.

They are also in the process of developing similar manuals for the remaining grades.

The ministry has also embarked on the development of an Integrated Physical Education and School Sports (IPESS) policy, which is the first of its kind in Africa.

“The ministry believes that in order to support learners to attain optimal learning and teaching outcomes, we have to look at the holistic development of our learners and physical activity is a vital part of this development,” said Faustina Caley, the deputy minister of MoEAC.

“It fosters their physical, social and emotional health. Effective participation in schools depends on the good health of our learners. The benefits of the physical education and school sports reach beyond the impact of physical well-being and the educational benefits of physical education and sport should not be under-estimated,” Caley added.

Integrating life skills into physical education

One of the aims of the IPESS programme is to integrate life skills into physical education and sports for development, using these as a tool to strengthen the resilience of learners.

“Life skills is not only learned in the classroom, but through practice, implementation and learning. The ministry sees IPESS as a vehicle not only for a healthy nation, but to also improve the life skills of our learners. Through IPESS we can keep our learners constructively engaged, decreasing their participation in negative behaviours such as substance abuse and falling prey to teenage pregnancy,” Caley said.

“We believe in creating a culture of care in our schools and the IPESS programme can be a way of achieving this. Through teamwork and participation, learners get to know each other and foster positive relationships not only between themselves, but also with their coaches. The more we strengthen the culture of care in our schools, the more we will achieve in all spheres of learners’ social development,” Caley added.

“A few years ago, physical education and physical activity were an integral part of daily life. Unfortunately, in the name of progress, we have chipped away at it that physical inactivity seems normal. We remain dedicated to our quest for sport development the ministry has concluded a historic Terms of Reference Agreement with the MoEAC aimed at refocusing our efforts on physical education and schools sport. Special emphasis is placed on the youth,” said the minister of sport, youth and national service, Agnes Tjongarero.

Tjongarero said this agreement is another milestone in their long journey of repositioning physical educational and school sport by launching this advocacy campaign.

“The ministries, with the assistance of GIZ, are in the final process of validating inputs and comments from key stakeholders towards finalising the draft IPESS policy,” Tjongarero added.

The advocacy campaign is set against the backdrop of the policy, which will be a first for Namibia, and the campaign will involve a set of public activities targeted to create support and awareness for the policy and the IPESS programme in general.

“The campaign represents a huge milestone for the ministries’ efforts of improving the status of physical education and school sport and we believe that this programme will become the bedrock of our entire sport development continuum,” Tjongarero said.

“Sport is not only a goal in itself. It promotes the development of physical and social skills and contributes to the empowerment and social responsibility of young people. Sport can teach us respect, to solve conflicts peacefully, to follow the rules and play fair and to achieve goals as a team.

Fact box: Sport for development

Using sport and physical activity as a tool for child and youth development as well as to achieve development goals.

Benefits:

1. Health

a. Reduced risk of non-communicable diseases

b. Increased knowledge of sexually transmitted diseases (STIs)

c. Increased knowledge about contraception and sexual relationships

2. Life skills

a. Communication

b. Self-confidence

c. Teamwork

d. Decision making

e. Goal-setting

3. Academics

a. Improved academic performance

b. Hard work ethic

c. Improved ability to concentrate

4. Equality

a. Girls’ empowerment

b. Enhanced participation

c. Learn about gender differences

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