Sports will become a full-fledged division under the Education Ministry as part of the efforts to strengthen sports development in school, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.
This was among the decision reached at a meeting on Wednesday chaired by Muhyiddin, who is the Education Minister, to restore the glory of sports in school starting next year.
At the moment, the sports section is under a division together with arts and curriculum. The sports division will have its own director and assisted by four deputy directors.
"We have also decided that five per cent out of the 10 per cent marks for co-curriculum activities be given to involvement in sports activities," he told a news conference after chairing a meeting of the main committee on sports development in school at parliament house here.
He said the 1Student 1Sport policy would also be enforced.
The meeting also decided to appoint more manpower such as special teachers to carry out sports development in school which would be done in stages, he said.
Muhyiddin said the allocation for sports would also be increased from the current rate of RM2.40 per student to RM4 for primary students and RM6 for secondary students.
"We will also rearrange co-curriculum schedules and may incorporate the teaching of sports during school hours so that students need not come back to school at later hours so as not to inconvenience them and their parents," he said.
He said the ministry would find ways to do so without affecting the time allocated for academic studies or increasing the school hours.
"We are taking this approach in order to encourage sports development in school and not to produce athletes. But if we develop sports in school, we will be able to identify talents among students but our overall target is to get them involved in sports," he said.
Muhyiddin said the ministry would also improve sports infrastructure in schools.
He also said that state governments and local authorities would be asked to allow schools, which were without facilities, to use their fields and halls to carry out sports activities.
"In our survey, nearly 90 per cent are able to implement the 1Student 1Sport policy. As for the remaining 10 per cent, we shall see what the problems are," he said.
Muhyiddin said sports development in school was beneficial to the country because through sports, student could learn to appreciate the spirit of cooperation and the sharing of noble values irrespective of race or religion.
"When Datuk Lee Chong Wei won the All England, no one asked him whether he was a Chinese or a Malay... he is a national champion and we are all proud of him. We want this spirit to be imbibed in the hearts of our children," he said.
Muhyiddin said sports development in school would not neglect the need of disabled students and that the ministry would think of ways to get them involve in the activities.
Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the emphasis on sports development in school would enhance the industry's value in the country and open up income generation opportunities among the people.
"Not only among athletes, others such as coaches, therapists, psychologists, dietary experts, sports item suppliera and so on, are also able to generate income," he told reporters after attending a luncheon to celebrate Lee's All England victory at Banquet Hall, parliament house.
With the latest move by the government, he said, more parents would encourage their children to become active in sports.
"Parents nowdays give too much emphasis on academic achievement and neglecting sports for their children. Sports is important in building the characters of students," he said.
Ahmad Shabery said the ministry had started collaborating with the Education Ministry and Higher Education Ministry in implementing the government's sports development programmes.
"For instance, the National Sports Council will help meet the demand for sports teachers by providing coaches recruited from among former state athletes," he said. - Bernama