Original Research

The delivery of primary school physical education in South African public schools: The perceptions of educators

Kobus C.J. Roux
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 10, No 1 | a813 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v10i1.813 | © 2020 Kobus C.J. Roux | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 October 2019 | Published: 11 August 2020

About the author(s)

Kobus C.J. Roux, Sport and Movement Studies, Health Sciences Faculty, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: Physical Education (PE) is a fundamental cornerstone for childhood development as it promotes lifelong participation in physical activities for holistic health. School educators play a key role in creating school environments that lead to developmentally appropriate and high-quality PE lessons.

Aim: The aim of this study was to determine educators’ perceptions on the state and status of PE in selected public primary schools in all nine provinces of South Africa.

Setting: Data were collected on the campus of the selected primary schools within 150 km of a university. In the absence of a university within the stated radius, an airport was used as an initiated point of departure.

Methods: The mixed-methods approach (quantitative: questionnaires and qualitative: semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions) was used to collect data. The purposive sampling method was used to select the participants. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics in the form of percentages, and presented using graphs and tables. Qualitative data were analysed using themes.

Results: The findings revealed that the educators from quintile 4 and 5 schools especially are of the opinion that challenges, such as a lack of resources, qualified PE specialist educators, and facilities and equipment negatively affected the delivery of PE at their schools.

Conclusion: Participants perceived that there are varying contextual and socio-economic school settings affecting the delivery of PE in the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) curriculum. The researcher recommends that all learners have access to the adequate provision of PE programmes.


educators; physical education; public primary schools; sport for development; Olympic studies


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