A total of 11 head teachers and physical education (PE) teachers from the United Kingdom (UK) recently completed a five-day programme in Sabah that saw them working closely with their counterparts in five local schools.
Their visit marked the launch of International Inspiration, a two-year international legacy programme for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to inspire young people to play sport.
It is led by UK Sport on behalf of the UK government in partnership with the British Council and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).
The programme uses sport to transform the lives of young people in schools and communities across the world, through the power of high quality and inclusive physical education, sport and play.
The aim of International Inspiration is to reach 12 million children in 20 countries by 2012.
To date, the programme has been rolled out in 12 other countries, including Brazil, India and South Africa.
In Malaysia, the event was organised by the British Council in partnership with the Education Ministry, and was carried out in Sabah and Perak.
In his speech welcoming the UK teachers to Sabah, Keningau District Education Officer representative Mathius Manang encouraged the local teachers involved to soak up the knowledge being shared as such opportunities were rare.
British Council Malaysia Education and Programmes director Peter Clack said the aim of International Inspiration is to utilise the power of sport to enrich the lives and develop the leadership potential of young people.
“Through the links with UK schools, Malaysian children will also gain valuable inter cultural insights while at the same time, a foundation is being laid for innovation in the curriculum through sport,” he said.
Fearns Community Sports College head teacher Mark Smallwood described the five-day programme with SMK Ranau as productive.
“During the five-day programme, we formed good working relationships which we are confident will sustain itself for the next three years,” he said.
St Josephs RC High School and Sports College PE teacher Martyn Sharrock on the other hand, was overwhelmed by the sheer enthusiasm of the pupils.
“Everyone was warm and friendly and receptive to new ideas.
“We even noticed that pupils were trying harder to speak and practise their English,” said Sharrock.
A total of 10 head teachers and PE teachers from Sabah will participate in a reciprocal visit to the UK later in the year.
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