THE Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Caribbean Sport and Development Agency (CSDA), yesterday hosted a Jump Rope Skipathon for primary school teachers and students from the eleven Education Districts across the country.
The Jump Rope Programme, Jump Rope for Heart (JRFH), at the National Gymnasium, Mandela Avenue, is a preemptive approach to addressing problems associated with Non-Communicable Diseases.
Speaking on the occasion, Assistant Chief Education officer of Primary schools, Mr. Marcel Hutson, stressed the importance of balance in the lives of children, noting that academics should be balanced with the technical and vocational areas.
“The ministry has seriously engaged the whole curriculum with respect to physical education, because they have realised the significance of physical education in the whole structure of things,” he said.
According to him, the ministry wants to develop well rounded individuals, and physical education is not limited to physical exercises, but also includes theoretical components such as maintaining a healthy diet.
Addressing the teachers gathered at the event, Hutson urged them to impart the knowledge they have acquired to the children, as well as encourage other teachers to become involved, and pointed out that persons are not void of information, or knowledge, but are void of implementation.
“We need to take seriously what we’re doing here, because it’s not just another exercise in futility, where we come and we sit down and then we leave; but you need to take what we’re doing here very seriously and more importantly, ensure that the information that we have received here during the course of the day, we will make it our duty to impart what we’ve learnt,” he said.
He expressed hope that the school system will benefit tremendously from the exercise, and enable physical education to be taken more seriously in schools, becoming the “order of the day”, and commended the various education districts for being a part of the activity.
Also speaking at the event, Sports Development Officer of the CSDA, Shaunna Thomas, said that persons need to figure out ways to get the younger children physically active from an early age, since they have a lot of energy.
She pointed out that within the Region, the Pan American health Organisation (PAHO) and World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that in the Caribbean, Chronic Non- Communicable Diseases (CNCD) account for about 60% of all deaths.
Thomas noted that these CNCD’s, which include stroke, cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes, are preventable.
She encouraged those teachers present at the activity to be as physically active as possible, as well as encourage their students to regularly engage in some sort of physical activity.
The JRFH programme of the CSDA, which is a non- governmental organisation, encourages children to engage in healthy lifestyle activities in the fight against CNCD’s.
The objectives of the programme include increasing and enhancing participation in physical activity, encouraging participants to make healthy meal choices and to improve health and quality of life in the communities in which JRFH operates.
Jump Rope for Heart helps to develop jump roping skills, promotes the value of physical activity, promotes team work and also increases the understanding of the seriousness of CNCD’s.
Students and teachers partaking in the activity included those from schools such as Aurora Primary, Vreed-en-Hoop Primary, Plaisance Primary, Ithaca Primary, Sophia Primary and Mahdia Primary.