Sunday, October 28, 2007

Women’s view on Physical Education and Sport ©

Women’s view on Physical Education and Sport ©
By Carole Beckford
October 28, 2007

With the call I have made for greater emphasis to be placed on Physical Education (PE) in the schools system in Jamaica; I did a survey a few months ago and found some startling results.

The results of the survey suggested that women over 30 years of age in Jamaica went to primary and high schools in a time when there was some amount of emphasis on PE in schools across the island.

Although the question was not asked directly, it was almost even the percentage between those who went to co-educational versus a single sex school.

PE should be done at least twice a week

Women in the age group up to 26 years of age only did physical education (PE) once a week in both primary and high schools; while women over 30 did twice a week in primary schools. The women up to 30 years are satisfied that once a week for children up to 12 (primary schools) and children up to 19 (high schools) is good enough.

The results have indicated that the women in the over 30 age group see the importance of PE/organized activities in the primary and high school systems and think there should be sessions for at least twice a week.

Some of these same women in the over 30 category did PE three times a week in high school, but it included swimming. Those women went to school in Kingston and/or boarding institutions.

When asked how often they think children should do PE in school up to 12 years old; 50 per cent said once a week; while 44 per cent of the sample thought children should do PE at least twice a week in high school up to 19 years of age.

Start organized activities from 0 – 4 years

Of the women sampled, 56 per cent suggested that children start organized activities from as early as they can walk; 38 per cent said children should start at four years, while a small six per cent said organized activities should start at nine years old.

Marilyn Wellymeyer wrote in a 1986 article for CNN that “The fitness boom has bypassed America's children. Most are fatter, many weaker and slower than they used to be, according to government surveys over the past two years. While their parents work out in record numbers, half the nation's 26 million fifth- through 12th-graders probably do not get enough exercise to develop sound hearts and lungs.”

I do not have enough evidence to say there is obesity among children problem in Jamaica, but from observation, we could do better.

In 2006, Dr. Eva Lewis Fuller of the Ministry of Health made a plea for mandatory physical activity in schools. "The recommendation really is to have the full impact of at least half an hour of physical activity three times a week at least, to have an impact in making you healthier and to increase your feeling of well being." She went on to say that “physical education is very important and should be included in the curriculum as an essential and mandatory subject.” Echoing my sentiments that PE is not extra curricular, but instead should be treated as part of the every day curriculum.
More survey findings
Of the sample of women who were questioned, 40 per cent of the women who were in the 36 to 40 years of age watch television for an average of three hours a day; only 18 per cent of that group watch for just an hour. They are in the under 30 years age group. 40 per cent of the women over 40 also watch television for more than three hours a week.
What kinds of programmes so they watch on TV? 44 per of the overall sample preferred drama while 34 per cent preferred sporting programmes, 19 per cent action and three per cent indicated they liked the soaps.
Half of the women went to three or more major sporting events a year; 31 per cent go to two 10 per cent went to one and the nine per cent does not go to any at all.
The sample was 320. The equivalent amount of men was surveyed and those findings will be submitted in my next update.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Jamaica Women in Sport Society (JWISS)

Well I am up to my old tricks...I have started yet another project, one which I think will work wonders. I have a great team of advisors, from sporting areas and marketing & communications.

Jamaica Women in Sport Society (JWISS) aims to improve opportunities for women in sport and physical education. The team is committed to promoting and increasing opportunities and roles for women at all levels. The team will campaign for change in the way we approach information, education, research and training to support increased opportunities for women in sport.

The JWISS will consist of a small team of women with experience in administration, competition, research, marketing and promotion of sport at all levels.

Main activities

• Influence and lead national, regional and international groups to ensure equity in policies, strategies and programmes in sport development
• Inform and design educational programmes to bring about a greater awareness for initiatives aimed at improving the status of women in sport
• Motivate women to pursue careers in sport
• Undertake research activities to set reference points for best practices in the sector
• Raise funds to assist women in sport

This is a fully registered BUSINESS.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


September 14

As Jamaica and the rest of the world prepare for the Summer Olympic Games scheduled for August 8 – 24, 2008 in Beijing, China, it seems that the sporting tourists will be coming to Jamaica a lot next year.

The International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) has given permission for one of Jamaica’s premier event to be used as Olympic Qualifier, the Gibson Relays. That is exciting news!

The Jamaican athletes are not just the most sought after athletes to compete, but our facilities and events are being positioned to attract the best of the world. So the track and field calendar which from as early as December 2007 will have premier events with top-class athletes. Watch out for the Gibson Relays, scheduled for February 23, 2008. Also, Saturday, May 3 is the date where the Jamaica International Invitational is expected to be held.

Those events are just for track and field, but world cup football qualifier will get cracking soon and so the “office” will also be hosting additional international tournaments which will again, test our ability to host major events.

So Kingston will be buzzing soon; but what of the golf courses and the other facilities in and around the island? The community groups, agencies and other noted promoters of major sporting events should by now have dates for other major sporting events for 2008. Let’s roll them out now, if you haven’t done so already.

Use of training facilities

We have seen where athletes and their management teams have come here in the off season to prepare themselves and that is an additional plug for Jamaica. Let’s encourage them to return. The climate, clean air and the warmth of the Jamaican people are just three things why these athletes should come here to train.

Trends for 2008

Randall Travel Marketing in a 2007 publication indicated that Youth Sports Travel is a market to watch. The report indicated that 52 million Americans attended a sporting event either as a spectator or a participant in 2006. These youth also had their parents/guardians with them.

The publication has also reported that reunions do have a sport element to it and can be seen as a market to tap into. The Travel Industry Association (2007) states that “more travelers are taking two vacations per year and a sporting event is one of the many reasons.”

Jamaica therefore is well positioned to capitalize on the sport tourism market and we have the facilities, trained professionals, accommodation and other accessories for users from near and far.

Research and Development

I am asking the University of Technology (UTECH) and University of the West Indies to focus a little more attention on Sport Tourism as a course offering so the interest can be heightened. It will inform us as a nation even more.

New Sport Minister

Welcome to Ms. Olivia Grange, Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sport. Let’s keep the focus on infrastructure, funding and development plans to keep Jamaica’s sport on Track. Congrats also to Neville “Teddy” McCook on being elected North America, Central America and the Caribbean (NACAC) Chairman in addition to being IAAF area representative.
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