Professionalisation of Physical Education and Sport Science in Africa

  • LO Amusa
  • AL Toriola
Keywords: Africa, professionals, professional organizations, physical education, sport, sport science

Abstract

Physical Education (PE) is not new in Africa. What could be new is Sport Science (SS) as a discipline. Various attempts have been made to study and write about PE in Africa by both foreign and African authors. The fact that none of these authors repeated one or the other shows the complex nature of PE in Africa. The fields of PE and Sport in Africa have a long history and tradition of participation, particularly when viewed from the perspectives of pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial Africa. The thrust of this article is to highlight the emergence of professional organizations and professionalism in PE and SS in Africa and the emergence and development of new academics disciplines within the profession, and affirm that the fields (PE and SS) in Africa have emerged from pockets of isolated practices and professionals to a more cohesive global academically respected profession. Of particular interest, the article highlights the emergence, growth and development of sub-regional and continent-wide professional bodies/organizations with either direct or indirect association with government departments of education, health and sports as well as parastatals and private organizations. Professional organizations prior to the 90s in Nigeria (NAPHER-SD), Kenya (KAPHER-SD) and South Africa (SAAHMS) to mention just a few worked in isolation from each other. The period after 1994 witnessed an upsurge in the development of professional PE and SS in Africa. Consequently, the following noticeable outcomes have emerged in the professionalization of PE and SS in Africa: (i) intellectual pursuits and responsible actions, (ii) knowledge- base derived from research, (iii) development of practical skills (not only academic competence and skills, (iv) establishment of representative professional organizations, (v) improved levels of communication among professional members, (vi) improved working relationship with international organizations; and (vii) emergence of more truly committed, qualified professionals.
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