The power of sports in promoting quality education
Sport plays a bonding role and helps students learn important skills to function socially; it has both physical and psychological benefits to learners hence contributing towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 4; Quality education. Those who participate in sports have higher school grades and record better school attendance.
“When I play football, I become more active and attentive. This enhances my concentration in class and improves my academic performance. The exposure I gained through sports has also helped me to learn more about culture through interaction with people from different social backgrounds making it easier to tackle examinations related to social studies,” Fatuma Baya – Moving The Goalposts (MTG) beneficiary.
Those who engage in sports also acquire virtues and positive attributes such as team work, self-discipline, increased self - esteem, hard work and determination. Sports also creates a good platform for learners to get education scholarship to achieve their career goals.
Having been a good footballer during her primary education, Mariam Samini from MTG was selected to join one of the best performing secondary schools in the coastal region of Kenya. She was appointed as a leader due to her confidence and leadership skills she expressed during her time in school. Mariam is currently pursuing her higher education supported by MTG; a sport for development organisation that empowers girls and young women through football.
The use of drills have proved to be very effective in passing information across all age groups especially among children and adult learners including those in vocational schools. Physical exercise and a combination of football drills with life skill messages make learning fun and enjoyable among learners. It makes it easier for them to grasp content on complex and sensitive topics like sexual reproductive health among other topics thus can be adopted by other sectors to promote specific learning objectives, such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects that people presume can only be handled by genius students.
However, when not controlled, sports women and men may feel misused and wasted when they spend most of their time travelling from one region to another to participate in ball games and other organised sports activities. This might result in limited study time resulting in poor performance in their education. To avoid this in the future, learning institutions can adopt a workable plan to ensure that students who participate in sports are allocated extra time for tuition and revision that will enable them catch up with others. Mentorship and motivational talks should also be held to sports people to help them realise that sports without education cannot take them any further.
As Nelson Mandela once said, sport has the power to change the world. When used effectively, sports do not only help us achieve Global Goal 4; Quality Education but also act as a powerful tool in achieving the other 16 SDGs. It has the power to transform and nurture talents, promotes team work and enhances togetherness.