R. Kekana

Gauteng Provinncial Legislature (SOUTH AFRICA)
School sports play a significant role in learners’ development. Research shows that children who play sports develop general physical fitness in a way that is fun and they establish lifelong habits for good health. Again, sports enhance the children’s academic performance and help them deal with social pressures, and to ease off the tension that is accumulated in their muscles. In addition, the South African government pronounced school sport as one of its major priorities. Yet, there seems to be little effort by the government to ensure that school sport is given priority it deserves.

Although the advantages of participating in sports are aplenty, the literature is silent about how well school sports is implemented in public schools in South Africa. In other words, the implementation of school sports has not received serious attention by policy makers. Research shows that there is a need to investigate the manner in which schools sports is implemented particularly in developing countries like South Africa. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to explore how school sports is implemented in South African schools. Specifically, the study was concerned with understanding the processes of when (during or after school hours), how (often), availability of sporting facilities, human resource (allocations, capacitated/skilled staff) and the kinds of trainings offered, etc.

The study was conducted using the qualitative research approach. Semi-structured interviews were used as data collection techniques. The findings revealed that factors such as poor coordination, lack of sporting infrastructure, poor maintenance of infrastructure, unavailability of equipments, lack of clear roles between policy makers (Gauteng Department of Education and Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation), and attitudes of learners and teachers towards sports hinder the effective implementation of sporting programmes in schools. These findings will be of benefit to policy makers in designing informed policies for the implementation of school sport in schools in South Africa. Therefore, the recommendation of this study is that intervention strategies need to be developed and adopted in order to ensure that school sports is accorded the status it deserves with the aim of maximising its benefits to the learners in schools.