PHYSICAL education, popularly known as P.E, is one of the subjects that are ignored in most of the school programmes in Rwanda. Schools that include and take physical education seriously are very few.
“Physical education is one of those subjects that students and pupils love most because it does not require them to exert a lot of thinking during the lessons” said Baradia Ogaa Arima, a physical education teacher of Green Hills Academy.
Physical education is supposed to be included in every primary school curriculum. In some secondary schools however, time for sports after classes is always devised.
According to Arima, the benefits of physical education are important when it comes to a child’s performance in academic subjects. He added that there is no limit to the kinds of sport activities that children can take part in.
Some of the incorporated sports at green hills academy for example range from; Soft Ball, field hockey, soccer, basketball, netball, tennis and aerobics.
“Having a variety of sports encourages every child to participate since not everyone can be talented in the same field.’ he added.
A child who engages his/her body in exercises has a higher chance of performing better in class. This is credited to the fact that the improved blood circulation facilitates the brain to get refreshed every other minute.
Long attention spans are a result and incidents of children dozing during lessons become a rare occurrence. When children are overloaded with a lot of exercises and notes to read, fatigue is likely to crop in and could easily lead to a decline in performance.
Physical education when included as a lesson will help children relax and re-energize for the next class. There are health benefits as well. Common colds that spread like a ‘hot rumour’ in schools are a common scenario. One child with a cold can easily pass it to other children.
Through physical education, and drinking a lot of water, this problem does not have to be part of any school-going child’s life. On the other hand, not all children are able to excel academically. The academically weak students should be given a chance to excel in sports.
“There is no reason why physical education should not be part of the school curriculum since the benefits are overwhelming.” Arima added.
Other than the individual benefits of physical education, schools can create strong ties, through sport tournaments. Such competitions are what sell a schools name and make it credible for the proper upbringing of children.
However, the time and equipment invested in physical education is quite expensive for the average schools, but they are very important. Though it is expensive, a school has to have a big playground and through the support of sponsors and fundraising, this problem can be eliminated.
Kigali children’s league is a project that is yet to kick off very soon. The purpose of this project is to unite children who come from different backgrounds with a common goal of sports.
The ultimate goal of the sponsors is to bring together different schools to participate in sports so that dependence on foreigners to play for the country is checked once and for good.
“This league just like the KKL (Kampala Kids League) in Uganda will unite all Rwandan children with talents irrespective of their backgrounds. Through working together, success will be achieved and this will be a dream-come-true.” Baradia Ogaa Arima added.
Physical education though commonly thought to be irrelevant is an important part of the school curriculum and should at least be considered.