In a move that could ensure a uniform and effective implementation of health and physical education (HPE) in all lower primary classes by 2018, 37 HPE instructors are attending a weeklong orientation programme in Tsirang.

The instructors from schools in Tsirang, Dagana, and Gelephu thromdes are being oriented on the revised curriculum and activity book.

One of the main objectives of the orientation programme is to revive and strengthen health and physical education in the school.

One of the participants, Kopila Chhetri of Lhamoizingkha Central School, said that until now HPE classes did not receive importance because of lack of clear guidelines on how to conduct such classes. The HPE classes mandated to conduct at least once a week remained inactive.

“This orientation and revision of HPE curriculum is one of the most important initiatives education ministry has taken,” she said. She added that while it is timely, HPE was as important as academic curriculum.

She said that the revised activity book has fun activities to keep primary students engaged. “I’m already excited to teach them,” Kopila said.

It was sometime in 1997 that HPE became part of school curriculum. Most HPE classes in the past remained idle without an instructor because the instructor would be teacher of other academic subjects. Sometimes students were let out on their own in the ground, another participants said.

Now the education ministry is training teachers cluster wise so that by next year all primary schools will have at least one trained HPE teacher.

Another participant, Phub Dorji, who has been teaching HPE in one of the remotest schools in Dagana, said that going by the importance of HPE, one period a week is too less.

“The 45 minutes of a period is just enough to conduct one activity,” he said.

According to DYS’s deputy chief sports coordinator, Nima Gyeltshen, HPE is a curriculum subject taught in schools to enhance the health and wellbeing of children.  Besides enhancing health, HPE would also greatly contribute towards child’s education, emotional and social wellbeing.

So far, DYS trained primary school HPE teachers of Thimphu, Chukha, Haa, Paro, Samtse, Gasa, Wangdue, Punakha, Tsirang and Dagana. Primary school teachers of remaining dzongkhags will be trained this summer and winter.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang