The Government of South Africa has prioritised the improvement of the quality of basic education as outcome 1 of a total of 12 outcomes representing top priorities; making basic education the apex priority of the current administration.


The Government notes that success in basic education will mean a greater capacity to achieve the MDGs ultimately the promotion of good governance and sustainable economic growth and the development of the country’s human potential.

The major challenges facing the education system include: low completion rates of basic education by vulnerable groups such as poor and vulnerable children, (teen mothers and boys on farms and in gangs); poor performance levels throughout the basic education phase; schools provide limited instruction in building life skills; constrained access to ECD services; failure of policy and evidence based planning to drive the utilization of resources; and improving management systems and reforming the different levels of the education system.


PE and sport can have a vital role in fulfilling the aims of child friendly schools. PE and school sport also provide a perfect platform for further sport for development programmes to be implemented. To improve implementation of the country’s educational objectives, the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) was amended, with the amendments coming into effect in January 2012.

A single comprehensive and concise Curriculum and Assessment Policy document was developed for each subject. In the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) the subject Life Skills in Foundation Phase (Grades R – 3) is the only Phase that has been finalised. The Phase has been organized into four study areas: Beginning Knowledge, Personal and Social Well-being, Creative Arts and PE.

In CAPS, the new curriculum states the PE component is allocated approximately 40 minutes (Grades R-9) and 60 minutes (Grades 10-12) per 2 hours in the Life Orientation curriculum from Grades R-12. The true benefits of physical activity come from spending more time being active than is stipulated in the CAPS allocation. However, PE combined with extra-curricular school sport will go a long way to instilling a culture of being physically active.

The focus of physical education should fall primarily on the development of motor skills, while the extra-curricular school sport should focus on motor skills application.

Department of Basic Education (DBE) and Sports and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) have developed a number of critical documents recently defining the impetus for physical education (PE) and sport to be delivered in schools.

The documents that have been developed thus far are:
• The Draft Schools Sports Policy
• The Draft PE Plan
• Integrated School Sports Framework (MOU)
• SRSA Strategic Plan 2011 – 2015

Physical activity is vital to the holistic development of young people, fostering their physical, social and emotional health. The benefits of sport, reach beyond the impact on physical well-being and the value of the educational benefits of sport should not be under-estimated.

Within schools, PE is an essential component of quality education. Not only do PE programmes promote physical activity, such programmes also correlate to improved academic performance under certain conditions. Sport can also, under the right conditions, provide healthy alternatives to deviant behaviour.


Community sport and recreation programmes are universally designed around community-based facilities with the aim of promoting access to recreational opportunities and a structured sport development continuum.

These programmes comprise a combination of specially selected activities, usually with a specific objective in mind and linked to the needs of the intended target group. In addition, all programme aims will be driven by the underlying premise that sport and recreation should contribute to improving the health and well being of the individual participants and to improve the quality of life through positive interaction. This upholds the view that sport and recreation can be both an end itself as well as a means to end.

When community sport and recreation are viewed as a tool and vehicle for the achievement of some goal, they open the way to exploring the community enrichment potential of sport and recreation in any given setting. Community enrichment settings can be as varied as the range of possibilities from which activities can be chosen to create a community sport and recreation programme.

A further way in which community sport and recreation programmes can be used for community enrichment is to create an awareness of, and education about pertinent and relevant community related issues affecting individuals, specific target groups, and/or communities. Examples of these issues include HIV/Aids and sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, lack of exercise and fitness and rape.


Young people are at risk to a broad range of socio-economic challenges.

They are at risk to physical and psychological trauma resulting from sexual abuse, gender-based violence, and other forms of physical violence and accidents. Other important health needs are sexual and reproductive health education and information; among these are sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV/AIDS, unintended pregnancies, and pregnancy related complications. Teenage pregnancy remains growing concern among adolescent girls that negatively impact their access to education and further increases their vulnerability later in life.

A reported increase in substance abuse in many communities has also raised concerns around young people’s access to illegal narcotics and alcohol. Of concern to the education sector is the ever-increasing numbers of young people that are out of school aged 16-18.

Although there is an emergent body of research on children’s schooling in South Africa, particularly studies on school enrolment and attainment, there have been relatively few empirical studies focusing on youth who drop out of school and the determinants of this problem will remain unknown if nothing is done. Yet there is enough evidence that keeping young people in school is a protective factor and will help in reducing the burden to the system later in life.