School Physical Education and Physical Fitness: A Study of Secondary School Students in Gaborone, Botswana
Keywords:Secondary school students, Physical Education, Physical activity, Physical Fitness
LANGUAGE NOTE | Document text in English; abstract also in Chinese.
Physical Education (PE) was introduced into Botswana junior secondary schools as a curriculum subject eight years ago. Although it has the status of an optional subject, it appears to enjoy wide acceptability in many schools. One would normally expect the effects of participation in classroom physical education on students to depend on the PE curriculum’s physical activity contents and how these activity contents are implemented. The study was aimed assessing the role of school PE programme in Botswana secondary schools in promoting the physical fitness levels of students. It involved 300 male Junior secondary school students in Botswana. Twenty students each were selected from 15 schools. The 20 from each school comprised 10 second and third year students offering PE as a subject and another 10 from the same years not offering PE (Non-PE). The students from each school were randomly selected from among the regular recreation participants in each school. The details and demands of the study and tests were carefully explained to the students and their PE teachers after which the school’s PE teacher signed the informed consent form on behalf of the students. Data were collected on health Fitness components of body weight, BMI, Hand grip strength, flexibility, abdominal muscle endurance and cardio-respiratory endurance using established and acknowledged tests, instruments and protocols. Null hypothesis was set for each of the measured variables with the alpha level set at p<0.05. Data were analysed for means, standard deviations and the difference between groups’ means using the independent groups t test. The results showed that the PE group was significantly superior to the Non-PE group in grip strength, abdominal muscle endurance and cardio-respiratory endurance. The two groups were not significantly different in age, body weight, BMI and flexibility. It was concluded that participation in school PE among urban male junior secondary school students in Botswana enhanced selected physical fitness components. This enhancement could be specifically attributed to the regular participation in the physical activities inherent in the PE subject and/or the PE students’ increased and motivated participation in the schools’ recreational and sporting activities.
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