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Sports and Physical Education among Children and Adolescents in Jordan: Situation and Way Forward

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Publication Date

May 1, 2011

This study on the adolescent sports programme "International Inspiration" in Jordan discusses its focus on using physical education (PE), sport, and play to provide better education for children and young people of all abilities in Jordan; to encourage them to adopt healthy lifestyles; and to empower them through the development of leadership skills. "The achievement of these goals on a long-term, sustainable basis is considered to require:

  • Positive attitudes towards physical activity among policy makers, teachers, parents and community leaders and a shared understanding of the contribution that physical activity can make to the development of children and young people.
  • Inclusive PE lessons in schools.
  • An appropriate supply of suitably qualified and motivated teachers and coaches.
  • Sufficient sports facilities and places for children to play.

In order to aid the effective planning and design of sports-related policies and programmes in accordance with these needs, UNICEF [the United Nations Children's Fund] and the British Council and in cooperation with the Ministry of Education commissioned the Nielsen Company to undertake a study of the position of sport and play among children and young people in Jordan. This study involved a review of the current policy and programme framework plus primary research with a representative sample of education personnel, students and parents."

Objectives of the study include:

  • To understand the current policies and national development plans designed to enhance sports among children.
  • To assess the strengths and gaps/weaknesses of the current policies and national development plans pertaining to sports among children.
  • To assess the current situation of sports among children and adolescents in Jordan.
  • To help in designing training packages for teachers aimed at delivering quality inclusive sports.
  • To assess the various approaches used by PE teachers to enhance sports and play among children and adolescents.
  • To assess the extent of application of the integration of life skills-based education into the PE curricula adopted during 2007-2008 and the results of such application.

The study used primary and secondary research, including quantitative surveying and knowledge, attitude, and practices (KAP) methodologies. Among the recommendations are the following related to communication:

1. Education Setting:
A. Basic and Secondary Schools

  • Increase the number of PE teachers in the schools, which lessens each teacher’s weekly load of lessons and allows him or her to organise more extracurricular sports activities, including training of sports teams.
  • Ensure that schools, including sports facilities, are accessible and suitable for the needs of children with disabilities.
  • Ensure that PE classes are delivered by teachers who have a specialist PE qualification.
  • Ensure that the PE curriculum provides guidance on high-quality and inclusive PE and sport contribute to learning, educational attainment, and development of life skills of children and adolescents.
  • To provide teachers with high-quality and inclusive teaching and learning materials to enable them to deliver age-appropriate and paedagogically sound PE curriculum and co-curriculum sport with separate and specific emphasis on special needs inclusion.
  • Ensure effective training and deployment of PE teachers.
  • Encourage cooperation/partnerships in sharing facilities, knowledge, and good practice between private and public schools.
  • Build on Jordan Olympic Committee (JOC) National Coaching Certification Programme to design and develop occupational standards, pathways, and a national education and accreditation system for practitioners in sport.
  • Train adolescents in secondary schools to work within their schools, partner schools, youth centres, and the wider community, as leaders of sports activities: as peer educators, young coaches, and young officials able to support local initiatives.

B. Higher Education

  • Reach an agreement between the Ministry of Education together with local universities on entry requirements in PE faculties and the necessary competencies/capabilities that university students should achieve before being able to deliver PE lessons in schools.
  • Institute a continuing professional development system for PE teachers and other practitioners in PE and sport.

2. Community Setting

  • Widen access to sport by linking schools and sport federations to youth centres and connecting young people to health and other services using outreach activities that utilise sport.
  • Strengthen the role of sports federations and their partnership with the Ministry of Education to increase the participation of children and adolescents in quality inclusive sports and to encourage students with aptitude to pursue sports after school hours.
  • Enhance the participation of girls. Provide appropriate infrastructure (closed / fenced playgrounds) along with female coaches. In places where exclusive facilities are not available for girls, particular time/day can be allocated for "girls only".

3. Corporate Sector

  • Continue providing incentives to the corporate sector, e.g. tax incentives to invest in the development of sports infrastructure and sponsoring of sports awards and events. Such programmes can form part of the corporate social responsibility.

4. Cross-cutting Recommendations:

  • Encourage schools, students, and/or community workers to organise advocacy campaigns that enhance the involvement of parents with their siblings in sports activities.
  • Embed child protection in all sport and sport for development activities.
  • To use sport as a mobilisation tool to promote healthy lifestyle, inclusion, school enrolment, and retention.
  • Use sports competitions, festivals, and events as communication tools to influence behavioural change among adolescents and as opportunities for volunteering.
  • Promote a volunteering ethos among adolescents in secondary schools, higher education, and communities.
Contact Information: 
Source: 

Email from Samir Badran to The Communication Initiative on February 26 2013.

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