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Should Physical Education be Compulsory?

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 1271 words Published: 18th May 2020

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Physical fitness is defined as the ability to carry out tasks without fatigue. Physical education is the teaching and learning of physical activity in a school gymnasium or other settings (Acara.edu.au, 2019).  PE is an academic subject that is characterized by a planned sequential curriculum and provides cognitive contents and instructions that are designed to develop knowledge, motor skills and behaviours for physical fitness and activity (Education.vic.gov.au, 2019). Its goal is to maintain and improve student’s health and set them on a path to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. In Australia, PE is not compulsory for students after year 10, which means that many students never think about playing sports in the future . This  will make obesity common among people and lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.  For some students PE has been a welcome break from the formulas and books, for others PE is the time where students are forced to play against their will (Learn.org, 2019. 

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One of the main reasons PE should be compulsory for all years of high school as it decreases the chances of obesity and promotes an active and healthy lifestyle. Obesity is the number 1 cause of multiple different diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, gallbladder disease and osteoarthritis (Acara.edu.au, 2019). A compulsory PE lessons in all years of highschool would decrease the chances of the students developing these diseases (Anderson 2018). Studies show that regular physical activity can improve insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes and help lose weight. Furthermore, regular physical activity has also been proven to be psychologically beneficial to pupils, research shows that regular physical activity improves self-esteem and decreases the chances of depression and anxiety (The Conversation, 2019). This would help the pupils live an active and healthy life. With a required minimum of 30 minutes a day, physical activity can reduce the risk of a heart attack and a lower blood cholesterol level, but most importantly, it can improve the quality of life.

PE is often viewed by many as a subject where the pupils get to enjoy themselves, many also believe that it provides opportunities for the students to be healthy and active. However, there are several reasons to why PE is an important subject(Theeducatoronline.com, 2019). . One of the main reasons why PE is an important subject is because it provides opportunities for pupils to be active and healthy and teaches them the importance of physical fitness. Pupils would never acknowledge PE lessons and wouldn’t consider playing sports without knowledge of benefits. Not only does having pe lessons raise pupils interest in sport, but it also helps them turn it into a life-long habit (Education.vic.gov.au, 2019). A  student can discover which kind of sport they enjoy playing, they can develop  interest/passion for the sport which could turn into a hobby. If the sport became a hobby, the students would play it more often (Chan 2017).

PE is mostly viewed as a marginal subject in the curriculum, many schools actively reduce PE time to make way for what are considered more “important or real” subjects such as maths, science and english. Many also believe that compulsory PE lessons will not help students develop an interest in sports as forcing them to do it is not an effective way to develop interest. A research conducted by the Youth sport trust shows that 40% of secondary schools have reduced timetabled PE lessons for primary and secondary students (Chan 2017). One of the main reasons for this is the increased pressure to attain better exam results. Much of the time students spend in PE classes is now spent receiving extra lessons on other subjects. Furthermore, PE is viewed as a subject for the students enjoy themselves and in some cases a form of stress relief to serve as a break from “real” subjects. As a result, it has been argued that PE provides more entertainment than education(DebateWise, 2019).

Many also believe that PE shouldn’t be a compulsory subject as students get bullied if they aren’t good at a certain sport. In schools where PE isn’t compulsory, many pupils often choose not to participate as they believe they’ll get bullied if they don’t perform well in sports. A study conducted by the DHHS showed that 19.5% of middle school bullying incidents were in PE class (DHHS 2014). This proves that PE teachers aren’t usually aware of bullying matters in their class  and can’t take action to prevent it, which can have a long term physical/mental impacts on students (DebateWise, 2019).

To conclude, physical fitness should be compulsory in schools as it provides students with opportunities to be healthy and active. PE also improves physical and psychological health and promotes a healthy lifestyle. Although it’s true that Math, English and Science are crucial, pe should also be given some time as it promotes a healthy lifestyle and has physical and psychological benefits. Bullying is a common issue that takes place mostly during PE lessons where pupils get picked on because they’re bad at a certain sport. In order to solve this issue, Schools should come up with anti-bullying programs and ways to stop bullies instead of making pe optional. 

The goal of compulsory PE lessons isn’t to force students to do something they don’t want to; it is rather to show them the benefits physical activity has on the body and mind, which will encourage them to stay fit.


  • Acara.edu.au. (2019). ACARA – Health and Physical Education. [Online] Available at: https://www.acara.edu.au/curriculum/learning-areas-subjects/health-and-physical-education [Accessed 2 Jun. 2019].
  • Australiancurriculum.edu.au. (2019). Health and Physical Education. [Online] Available at: https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/health-and-physical-education/ [Accessed 2 Jun. 2019].
  • Education.vic.gov.au. (2019). Physical and Sport Education. [Online] Available at: https://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/principals/spag/curriculum/Pages/sport.aspx [Accessed 2 Jun. 2019].
  • He Conversation. (2019). Physical Education is just as important as any other school subject. [Online] Available at: https://theconversation.com/physical-education-is-just-as-important-as-any-other-school-subject-103187 [Accessed 2 Jun. 2019].
  • Human Kinetics. 2019. Bullying in the Physical Activity Environment – Human Kinetics . [ONLINE] Available at: https://us.humankinetics.com/blogs/excerpt/bullying-in-the-physical-activity-environment. [Accessed 13 June 2019].
  • Learn.org. (2019). What Is Physical Education? [Online] Available at: https://learn.org/articles/What_is_Physical_Education.html [Accessed 2 Jun. 2019].
  • Penn State PRO Wellness. 2019. Longer Gym Class Periods Reduce Childhood Obesity – Penn State PRO Wellness Penn State PRO Wellness. [ONLINE] Available at: http://prowellness.vmhost.psu.edu/longer-gym-class-periods-reduce-childhood-obesity. [Accessed 02 June 2019].
  • Study.com. (2019). What is Physical Education? – Definition & Overview – Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com. [Online] Available at: https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-physical-education-definition-overview.html [Accessed 2 Jun. 2019].


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