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Fresh Approach

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A new, fresh and re-energised approach is needed towards Physical Education, especially in the nation’s schools.

With the new academic year already in gear, there must be evidence that this crucial activity is important.{{more}}

As a person who has daily contact with children, I am aware that Physical Education and Sports are seen simply as past times rather than tools of the trade of life.

A look at many of our youngsters shows poor body co-ordination occasioned by poor eating habits and lack of exercise.

Noticeably, there are many young male and female students with distinctive bulges about their mid sections. Obviously, this cannot augur well for our future generation which is expected to carry a nation forward.

And, as the new term is school year is ushered in, things are off to a bad start, as the preferred first meal of the day for many is without doubt detrimental to their health and wellbeing.

Hence, the need for those in authority, more so at the health promotion and physical educational levels, to up the crusade in spreading the gospel of proper nutrition, rest and exercise.

The blarney, colourful words, followed by the absence of definitive corresponding measures to put teeth and meaning to this important aspect of human development are mere wastes of breath.

We tend to get hyped when certain marginal achievements are attained or when there are non-performances by national athletes in general, but do not stop to make a reality check that the systems or lack thereof are the causative agents for the minimal successes or the major failures.

As everyone should be aware by now, Sports is big business and should be treated as an avenue for economic growth and development.

Physical Education and Sports should be placed on the front burner because of their overall input to the nation’s health and wealth.

And, there is no better place that one can start that at the schools’ level, as early as at the pre schools, where structured skills are taught and reinforced as the students progress.

A friend told me recently that he visited a pre-school in Jamaica where the skill of passing the baton was being taught to students of that school. Therefore, one should not guess why the Jamaicans are so adept at their craft.

Here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, one may be lucky to learn such a skill at the secondary school stage. One Vincentian young lady at the recent Windward Islands School Games held here looked lost as to how to set up herself in the blocks for the 100m race.

Changing this and other things, though, needs involvement in totality.

The Ministries of Health, Sports and Education, along with parents and community organizations, are the major vehicles for that turn around.

But with the schools being very influential institutions, much can be achieved if the powers that be get serious.

The haphazard way of carrying out Physical Education sessions at most of the nation’s schools and the scant regard given to schools’ competition should be looked at critically and done away with.

These aspects must become core areas instead of being just addenda to the curriculum.

A recent study conducted in the United States of America showed that for every dollar spent on sports there, it is estimated that the country saves a 3.4 dollars on its health bill.

So, with the US being a country from which we copy so many things, why not imitate their approach to sports?

Too often we are reluctant to put money directly into sport as the results are not forthcoming overnight as in many sectors of the economy. We do not think of the longterm effects on the entire nation.

Still, this column’s focus is the call for the removal of ‘The Mound’ at the Sion Hill Playing Field.

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