By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
To identify the fitness level of students and provide baseline data for the selection of physical activities to be conducted in school, the Department of Education (DepEd) has issued a revised physical fitness tests (PFT) manual for both public and private elementary and secondary schools.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones, in DepEd Order no. 034 s. of 2019, issued the said manual in recognition that physical fitness is crucial for well-being and active life.
“The total progress of an individual should be prioritized in terms of the physical, mental, emotional, and social aspects and health through a comprehensive physical fitness program and assessment,” she explained.
Briones said learners “can only perform at the height of their performance when they are healthy and strong.” Thus they need to “actively engage in lifelong habits of regular physical activities for their overall health improvement and quality of life.”
Under the K to 12 Basic Education Program, Briones noted that physical fitness “is one of the major goals of the physical education program and shall be incorporated/adopted in the curriculum for Grades 4 to 10.”
She added that the administration and implementation of the testing program shall be treated as an “essential component” of physical education and sports programs from Grades 4 to 12.
Briones explained that the PFT is a “set of measures designed to determine a learners’ level of physical fitness.” It has two components: Health Related and Skills Related Fitness.
As an essential component of the physical education and school sports program for elementary (Grades 4 and 5) and secondary levels, the PFT shall be administered “at the beginning of the first quarter and of the third quarter” to monitor improvement and progress.
The results of the PFT, Briones noted, “shall be recorded, summarized, and submitted” to the Bureau of Curriculum Development-Special Curricular Programs Division for evaluation, for them to come up with Philippine physical fitness norms.
“Likewise, the schools, schools divisions, and/or regions are encouraged to do the same…to determine the learners’ physical fitness norms,” she added.
Aside from determining the fitness level of students, the PFT also aims to “identify strengths and weaknesses for development and improvement.”
Among the other objectives of the PFT is to “provide baseline data for the selection of physical activities for the enhancement of health and skill performance,” as well as to “gather [data] for the development of norms and standards.”
Overall, DepEd noted that the PFT also aims to “motivate, guide, and counsel pupils/students in selecting sports for recreation, competition, and lifetime participation.”
Briones noted that the PFT shall also serve as a “guidebook” for teachers who handle physical education subjects for their guidance on proper procedures and executory activities.
Briones explained that all other provisions of then-Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) Order n0. 54 s. 1994 entitled “Physical Fitness Through Jump Rope and Aerobics Exercises” and all other issuances inconsistent with the newly-issued order are “rescinded.”
This policy, she added, shall take effect in school year 2020-2021 upon its approval.