Sports, Fitness Curriculum Planned for Junior High

The government this week agreed to partner with an NGO to create a new national physical edu­cation curriculum for junior high schools, the education minister said on Friday.

Under the agreement, which was signed on Wednesday, Japanese sports NGO Hearts of Gold will help the Education Ministry update the exercise methods used in schools and develop a new national sports curriculum appropriate for junior high students.

“Currently in the school level, we have exercise,” Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said. “But the exercise…has not been updated ac­cording to physical science and sports science.”

Mr. Chuon Naron said that students are currently being asked to do calisthenics and aerobics, but that these are not being taught in a methodical way.

“I think it’s just [a] practice [from] even before the war, and they still do it like that, and that needs some improvement in terms of methodology,” he said.

“It’s a little bit of stretching…. You raise your hand, you stretch your leg, et cetera. It’s a little bit—very—basic, and that’s why I think the modern techniques could be may­be more efficient for the health.”

In 2006, Hearts of Gold also worked with the ministry to create a physical education curriculum for primary schools, but junior high school students are still exercising according to the old methods, ac­cording to Nishiyama Naoki, the NGO’s country director.

“After graduating sixth grade, they go back to the traditional stuff for physical education,” Mr. Ni­shi­yama said.
In addition to the standardized exercises, organized sports will also be integrated into school activities nationwide.

These could in­clude volleyball, basketball, gymnastics or martial arts, he said.

“It’s [important] so children in the provinces and the city can learn physical education equally,” he said. “Sports help develop attitude, skills, knowledge and cooperation.”

Mr. Nashiyama said that the first planning meeting for the new curriculum would be held later this year, and that the program would likely launch in 2017.

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