Physical education

Physical education, also known as Phys Ed., PE, gym, or gym class, and known in many Commonwealth countries as physical training or PT, is an educational course related of maintaining the human body through physical exercises (i.e. calisthenics). It is taken during primary and secondary education and encourages psychomotor learning in a play or movement exploration setting to promote health.

In Singapore, pupils from primary school through junior colleges are required to have two hours of PE every week, except during examination periods. Pupils may play games like football, badminton, captain ball, and basketball during most sessions. Unorthodox sports such as fencing, and skateboarding are occasionally played. In more prestigious secondary schools and in junior colleges, sports such as golf, tennis, shooting, and squash are played. An annual compulsory fitness exam, NAPFA, is conducted in every school to assess pupils’ physical fitness. This includes a series of fitness tests (pull-ups/inclined pull-ups for girls, standing broad jump, sit-ups, sit-and-reach and 1.6 km for primary [10- to 12-year-olds]/2.4 km for secondary and junior college levels [13- to 18-year-olds]). Students are graded by gold, silver, or bronze, or as fail. NAPFA for pre-enlistees serves as an indicator for an additional two months in the country’s compulsory national service if they attain bronze or fail. In Malaysia, pupils from primary schools to secondary schools are expected to do two periods or one hour of PE throughout the year except a week before examinations. In most secondary schools, games like badminton, sepak takraw, football, netball, basketball and tennis are available. Pupils may bring their own sports equipment to the school with the authorization of the teacher. In the Philippines, PE is mandatory for all years, unless the school gives the option for a student to do the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme instead for fifth and sixth year. Some schools have integrated martial arts training into their physical education curriculum. In Indonesia, students ranging from kindergarten to high school have PE integrated with their curriculum. Kindergarten through grade 3 students have gymnastics. Starting from Grade 4, students are introduced to traditional martial arts Pencak Silat and some team games such as badminton, football, futsal, rounders, and basketball. Starting from junior high school, games such as basketball, volleyball, cricket, tennis, badminton, kho kho, and kabaddi are played. Drills and physical training are taught.

In Australia, physical education was first made an important part of the curriculum in government primary and secondary schools in 1981. The policy was outlined in a Ministerial Statement to the Victorian Legislative Assembly by the Minister for Educational Services, Norman Lacy MP on 17 September.

In the United States, the goal of physical education is to “develop physically literate individuals who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity.” Zero Hour is a before-school physical education class first implemented by Naperville Central High School. In the state of Illinois this program is known as Learning Readiness P.E. (LRPE). It was based on research indicating that students who are physically fit are more academically alert and experience growth in brain cells or enhancement in brain development. NCHS pairs a PE class that incorporates cardiovascular exercise, core strength training, cross lateral movements, and literacy and math strategies with literacy and math classes that utilize movement to enhance learning and improve achievement. In British Columbia, Canada, the government has stated in the grade one curriculum that students must participate in physical activity daily five times a week. The teacher is also responsible for planning Daily Physical Activity (DPA), which is thirty minutes of mild to moderate physical activity a day, not including curriculum physical education classes. The curriculum requires students in grade one to be knowledgeable about healthy living. For example, they must be able to describe benefits of regular exercise, identify healthy choices that require them to be more physically active, and describe the importance of choosing healthy food. Ontario, Canada has a similar procedure in place. On October 6, 2005 the Ontario Ministry of Education (OME) implemented a Daily Physical Activity policy in elementary schools, grades 1–8. It requires that all students in grades 1 to 8, including those with special needs, be provided with opportunities to participate in a minimum of twenty minutes of sustained moderate to vigorous physical activity each school day during instructional time.

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