How sports can boost school enrolment and reduce out of school children


Sport is a part of education. It can be a veritable tool to boosting school enrolment while also reducing out of school children.

Students and graduates of tertiary institutions already know of Human Kinetics and Health Education (HKHE) or Physical and Health Education (PHE). Some products of these courses turn to teachers, nutritionists, fitness coaches, sportsmen, among other professionals.

A lot of children love sports. The usefulness of sports is even beyond the play that many perceive it to be. It is of health benefits just as we utilise it in education.

Nigeria’s Education Minister, Adamu Adamu had earlier in the year indicated that over 8.6 million school-aged children are not in school. The United Nations says that 30% of pupils drop out of primary school and just 54% of the remaining continue to complete the Junior Secondary Schools.

Governments and private agencies have been investing efforts to reduce these figures. Education is almost entirely free in Nigerian public schools, while the cost varies in private schools and much of what goes on in schools cuts out sports. In this post, proposes ways in which school managers could use sports to increase school enrolment and reduce the deficit of children out of school.

How sports can boost school enrolment and reduce out of school children

1.     Give room for more time to play

Not every class activity should be bookish. The style of a teacher should be engaging enough to incorporate elements of play. Studies at the University of Lagos have shown that there could be significance in students’ interest in learning when they play in the process. One of such which this writer carried out using Junior Secondary School students in Lagos showed that regular learning would not be hindered by integrating elements of playing into the classroom.

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There are video, critical thinking and physical games that could aid the learners in their understanding of concepts in almost entirely all school subjects. The more we encourage a play-based learning process, the better for our classrooms.

2.     Sports should be a core school activity

Every school should make sports a core school activity. Of course, PHE is a school subject. That is almost not entirely different from other school subjects in most cases as learners face the task of note writing and listening.

Rather than just making sports a once in a week activity, the time sporting events hold should be doubled or trebled. Like every other school activity, sports should be closely monitored by designated school officials.

Handing in regular progress reports about participants would be a way to track changes in the performance of students and teachers. Empirical studies at Columbia University, among others, have shown that increased time for sports has no negative relationship with academic performance. Schools which make sports a core activity could attract more students as a result of such.

A kid playing

3.     Organise sports competitions

When schools organise sports competitions, they show their communities qualities of the students beyond the classroom. Of course, many schools today organise inter-house sports.

These competitions encourage children to see themselves as capable of doing other things beyond the classroom. Those academically deficient may get to discover their other abilities through sports just as those like sports get to acquire formal education in the process.

4.     Participate in interschool sports competitions

It should not be limited to just organising internal school sports competitions. Encourage top performers in the games to see how well they can fare in larger scale versions of such. The Channels International Kids Cup and the GTBank’s Principal’s Cup are examples of initiatives in encouraging interschool sports competitions.

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Any child who would love to partake in any is required to be studying in one school relative to the category of participants in the competitions. Children keen on sports would want to consider being in school for it provides them with perks of opportunities.

5.     Open school’s sports facilities to public use

Every school compound should ordinarily include some spaces for playing. That is part of the regulations given by government departments in charge of school approval. However, for one reason or another, we have government-approved schools today without open or closed spaces for play. That should not be so.

Schools which open sports ground for public use may use the medium to advertise their facilities and encourage the sportsmen, if they are not currently enrolled in school to join theirs. The sports facilities may also serve as source of income to the school. The football pitch, basketball court or swimming pool should attract your neighbours to the school. However, there is the risk of compromising safety and security if the compound is too open to the public. This could be handled through proper precautionary measures.

School hallway

6.     Award scholarships for top performance in sports

Top performers in sports should be awarded scholarships by school managements. This may be either part or full scholarship opportunities, depending on the capability of the management. That would be a source of motivation for the students.

Beneficiaries of such scholarships should be students who had proven their skills in sports by winning laurels. It would be a way of encouraging them to take their studies seriously while also reinforcing their excellence in sports. A close thing to it is being operated in a few tertiary institutions in form of hostel accommodation incentive for sportsmen.

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7.     Employ sports managers

Just as school managers would employ qualified teachers, nurses and security officers in manning their schools, they should engage the services of professional sports managers too. Excellence in sports would be better guaranteed by a professional. These people’s services may be sought on a contractual basis in part-time or full-time. It would be nice learning from a professional sportsman. You never can tell if those students would come to embrace sports as a profession in future after schooling.

8.     Collaborate with sports clubs and agencies

Schools collaborating with sports clubs and agencies show their commitment to standards in sports development. This comes with perks in terms of professional support, facility support and more. Such collaborations ease the affairs of the school management should they want to register students for sports tournaments or train their sports representatives.

Where there are insufficient facilities available, collaborations with relevant sports clubs and agencies may help in making such available to the beneficiaries. It would also further expose teachers and students to trends in the particular sport.



We can all improve on school enrolment and reduce out of children through sports. Our commitment to physical, in addition to intellectual development would pay off for our world if we start considering the role of sports in education. We should stop seeing sports as a distraction but an aid to learning.


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