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Making sport part of school courses

Minister of Sports Minister Stephen Lashley (right) says sports could become a part of the school curriculum from next year. At left is former World Champion hurdler Ryan Brathwaite. (Picture by Kenmore Bynoe.)

By Justin Marville | Sun, October 21, 2012 - 12:03 AM

Forget pairing with education, sport may finally be a compulsory part of it.

Regional high-ranking officials are looking at putting sport into the curriculum of primary and secondary schools from as early as next year following a recent meeting of Caribbean sports ministers in Guyana.

Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley revealed the initiative in an interview with SUNSPORT after returning from the Special Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development – Sport.

“We need to start looking very, very seriously at ensuring that sports are integrated within our curriculum, within our school systems, because we believe we have to grow sports, not only at the level of the adult athlete, but certainly within our primary and secondary schools,” Lashley said.

“So that is something that we will be discussing in more detail, hopefully next year, when the CARICOM ministers of education have their meeting.

“[And] the CARICOM secretariat is looking at the possibility of convening along with the education ministers’ meeting to have the ministers of sports present there as well, because we think there are some very specific collaborations that need to be made so we can move sports forward in a much more rapid manner.”

It was one of the major talking points coming out of the 17th edition of the meeting, which also focused on the staging of the inaugural Caribbean Games next year.

If all things go according to plan, then 2013 would also see sport becoming a mandatory subject of education across the English-speaking Caribbean.

The initiative follows the successful integration of physical education as a Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) subject in 2005. Students from Springer Memorial and The Lester Vaughan School were the first to write those exams here.

Philip Hackett, chairman of the Physical Education Teachers Association of Barbados, said the proposal was one that was necessary to change the Barbadian “culture of looking at sports as a mere pastime”.

“It would depend on how it is implemented, but if it is more a general type of curriculum where everyone is exposed then it will create the right type of culture from a young age,” Hackett said.

“This would be a great thing because the prevailing attitude about sport right now is that it is something to do when better can’t be done; you know, if you aren’t good academically, then go and do sports.

“And if you decide to implement it to help kids who are already athletes with superior skills, and set up specialist areas, then this will also be a major boost to develop the sporting arena,” Hackett added.

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