S4DA pushes for PE inclusion in academic programmes

Shelly Guni

Children adore playing and running.

It’s all a part of growing up.

This typically starts in school during physical education (PE) lessons or after-school activities, just like participating in more formalized sporting events.

Giving kids access to physical activities is essential for their general development, regardless of their
athletic or physical prowess.

Together with the UN and Sport for Development in Africa (S4DA), the sports ministry is working to
promote physical education as a crucial component of the academic program. The Integrated Physical
Education and School Sports program embodies this.

PE instructor Tatenda Takura believes one vital aspect of having children engage in physical activities is
to know they can do so safely and be coached, trained and supervised by trustworthy and certified
adults who will look after their physical and mental wellbeing.

“Essentially, it comes down to safeguarding children in sports. All children have the right to participate,
enjoy and develop themselves through sport in a safe and inclusive environment, free from all forms of
abuse, violence, neglect and exploitation.

“This sounds obvious and normal, but too often these rules are transgressed in some way. Children have
the right to have their voices heard and listened to. They need to know who they can turn to when they
have a concern about their participation in sport.

“This is not always how Zimbabweans adults behave. Wanting children to be seen and not heard and to
always respect their elders, is highly important but it should never translate into any form of abuse,” he
Parents and the vast majority of care-givers would be appalled if they find out their children, or the
youth under their guardianship, were being abused by a grown up.

“We need to listen to them; we need to create a forum where children feel safe speaking out, so that in
turn they know that they will be safe when engaged in physical activities. This is why the ministries are
working together with our stakeholders to engage both coaches, trainers and the children through a
programme called ‘Safeguarding children in Sports’.

Through a series of training and engagements across Zimbabwe, physical education teachers, facilitators and other guardians are trained. The eight safeguards for working with children are explained in theory and practice.

“These are: Developing your policy; procedures for responding to safeguarding concerns; advice and
support; minimising risks to children; guidelines for behaviour; recruiting, training and communicating;
working with partners; and monitoring and evaluation.

“We owe this duty of care to them and that is why our ministry, together with the other stakeholders,
will continue to train, teach and engage on this essential topic.”

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