Wednesday, 01 April 2015 - 7:05
The Ministry of Education and Nestlé Lanka officially kick off 'IAAF Kids' Athletics' in Sri Lanka
The Ministry of Education in partnership with Nestlé Lanka PLC and the Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AASL) officially announced the launch of the ‘IAAF Kids’ Athletics’ programme to promote physical activity among primary school children in Sri Lanka.
A recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Education revealed that only 15% out of four million students engage in regular sports. This indicates a pressing need for increased physical activity among school children, as good nutrition practices and a physically active lifestyle remain vital for the prevention of non-communicable diseases. Having identified this, the Ministry of Education made it a top priority for students to engage in at least one sport to ensure that physical activities are incorporated into their daily routines. Subsequently, the Sports Division of the Ministry of Education initiated various programmes among primary and secondary level students to further drive this objective.
“The primary objective of education is to produce mentally sound and physically fit individuals to society. To this effect, sports play a crucial role in a child’s development during his or her primary and secondary stages of education. Our partnership with Nestlé Lanka is therefore an ambitious step taken by the Ministry of Education to provide the younger generation with more exposure into the physical activity component, ensuring that they become physically strong individuals in due course,” said Hon. Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Minister of Education. “As per the government directive, every student must engage in a sport. The ‘IAAF Kids’ Athletics’ programme can be the foundation primary students need before engaging in school sports. Primary school teachers who have been well-trained by officials from the Ministry of Education and the Athletic Association of Sri Lanka will be conducting these activities across 98 educational zones,” he further added.
A total of 25 minutes is allocated on a daily basis, where primary school students are encouraged to engage in physical activities under the guidance of trained teachers during school hours.
Nestlé is the global main sponsor of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Kids’ Athletics programme. Nestlé Lanka stepped in as the principal sponsor to extend the same programme to Sri Lanka, promoting the importance of physical activity among primary school children. Understanding that both nutrition and an active lifestyle are essential for a balanced life, Nestlé has been promoting nutrition awareness in Sri Lanka via the Nestlé Healthy Kids programme since its launch in 2010, reaching over 11,000 children to date.
“As the global main sponsor of ‘IAAF Kids’ Athletics’, Nestlé values the partnership established in Sri Lanka through the Ministry of Education and the Athletic Association of Sri Lanka, which is the official IAAF representative in the South Asia region. The ‘IAAF Kids’ Athletics’ programme is set to provide children between Grades 3 – 5 with a platform to enter sports and live a physically active lifestyle from a young age. As a food and beverage company that strives to be the leader in Nutrition, Health and Wellness in Sri Lanka, we strongly believe that in addition to having a well-balanced diet, it’s equally imperative to maintain an active lifestyle for a better quality of life,” said Shivani Hegde, Managing Director of Nestlé Lanka. “We fully support the mission of driving this initiative across the island, empowering over 30,000 children to be more physically active in their day to day lives.”
The Ministry of Education with the support of the Athletic Association of Sri Lanka and Nestlé Lanka will be officially rolling out the inaugural ‘IAAF Kids’ Athletics’ programme in the Central Province of Sri Lanka towards the end of April 2015. The remainder of the activity schedule will be shared in due course by the Ministry of Education.