n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Return of Physical Education to the curriculum : problems and challenges facing schools in South African communities : physical education - : physical education

Volume 13, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


The changing place and status of Physical Education in the South African school curriculum has followed much the same route as that of Physical Education in developed and developing countries, namely that of decline and demise. In 1994, Physical Education was officially dropped from the South African National Curriculum. Now, in concordance with worldwide reform trends and due to concerns with regard to health risks associated with physically inactive children, Physical Education has been reinstated in the National Curriculum, as one part of the learning area Life Orientation. As with any reform effort, this positive step on the road of child health brings with it certain problems and challenges for the developed as well as developing communities of South Africa, especially after such a long absence of a subject in the curriculum. The purpose of this study was to investigate the problems and challenges facing schools in advantaged and disadvantaged communities in South Africa, and proffer appropriate recommendations. A total of eighteen Life Orientation teachers from the nine provinces of South Africa participated in the study. Data were collected through interviews, and qualitatively analyzed. Results revealed that the major challenges for schools in the two types of communities included teachers who were not sufficiently qualified, low status of the subject, shortages of facilities and financial resources, unique curriculum requirements, limited time allocation and practical problems involving large and cultural diverse classes. In light of the results, recommendations are made with regard to further training of current teachers as well as the training of student teachers, within the unique educational environment of South Africa.

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