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Reforms to bring about holistic approach to physical education in government-run schools

Bilingual learning, a focus on health and wellbeing and greater parental involvement are part of reforms on how physical and health education is taught in government-run schools.

Courses in fitness, health and wellbeing, diet and nutrition, and physiology have been introduced by the Ministry of Education to promote more individual responsibility among Emirati pupils.

"It aims to empower students with the health and physical literacy skills to ensure a future generation of healthy, motivated, highly educated citizens," said Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education.

The new curriculum will be taught to all age groups, from kindergarten to Grade 12.

A key aim is to raise awareness of various health indicators, such as body mass index, and how they can be used to improve health and reduce healthcare costs.

The curriculum is split into three cycles. The main focus of Cycle 1 is fundamental movement skills and development of competent communication skills. Cycles 2 and 3 build on that with higher-level sport science through the study of biomechanics and a range of sport and activities.

An English-language component is designed to help pupils prepare for reading and understanding nutritional information on products, which are usually in English.

As part of the initiative, parents will also be encouraged to form healthier lifestyle choices and habits. "Parental engagement is important," said former athlete Danielle Mincey White who is managing director of Athletic Mindset Consulting.

"Students who disliked physical education because of the old methods had no desire to participate in sport activities, so parents didn’t look for ways to change students’ perspectives.

"Teaching the children about healthier options and providing avenues to exercise those options will lead to lower childhood obesity and incidences of obesity-related diseases."

More than 500 teachers took part in workshops to learn how to facilitate the programme.

"In the light of the many illnesses arising related to lifestyle choices, there has never been more need for physical education (PE) than now," said teacher Nura Arabi. "It is recommended pupils get 150 minutes of PE a week at primary level and 225 minutes at secondary level." Some UAE schools do not provide this amount.


Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/reforms-to-bring-about-holistic-approach-to-physical-education-in-government-run-schools