The formation of the Fiji Association of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (FAHPER) will help teachers develop said the Association’s Interim President Alifereti Cawanibuka during a one day workshop organised by the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) in Suva on Saturday 7th December, 2019.
Mr Cawanibuka who is also the current president of Fiji University of Sports Association said the idea behind the workshop was to see if stakeholders invited could help form FAHPER.
"It is encouraging to the large turnout especially from primary and secondary school teachers and representatives from tertiary institutions," he said.
"Also the turnout from some of the National Sporting Federations is inspiring for us."
Mr Cawanibuka said the workshop would allow National Sporting Federations to impart their knowledge so that they could help in the professional development and up skilling of teachers.
"Especially in the terms of technical expertise which would really help teachers and those involved in Physical Education to be better skilled to disseminate information and training," he said.
Mr Cawanibuka said with the help of FASANOC's Sports Education Commission conducting the Oceania Sports Education Program (OSEP) courses, Fiji National Sports Commission and other stakeholders like Fiji National University's College of Humanities and Medicine, they hoped to hold more workshops in the future.
"We were fortunate to have OSEP Mentor Educator, TalemoWaqa, who is also a former Physical Education teacher and currently with World Rugby to talk about the formation of the Association and the processes we would have to go through," he said.
"We understand that we will not be able to hold these workshops during the school period so we have to look at days when teachers will be free including holidays or weekends."
Mr Cawanibuka said they also discussed the FAHPER calendar of activities.
"If we do this right we can address some of the issues we discussed as a group and how we can better address them as an association," he said.
In closing the workshop, FASANOC Chief Executive Officer, Lorraine Mar, after hearing the concern from the teachers that PE is a “marginalized” subject in schools and often given up for other activities, challenged the teachers and the Association to be the voice of PE within the education system.
She drew attention to FASANOC’s vested interest in ensuring that PE was part of the primary and secondary schools’ curriculum, pointing out that PE in schools formed the foundations of fundamental movement skills in athletes who would later feed into the sports development structure.
Ms Mar also acknowledged that effective PE delivered in schools helped to foster physical activity as a life long interest, which in turn contributed to the prevention of NCDs.
The one-day workshop for PE Teachers was funded by FASANOC through an allocation from its National Activities Program, a regional grant received from the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC).