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Sports and PE at the Heart of National Development – Prof. Ammah

A professor of Physical Education (PE) at the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), Prof. Jonathan Ammah, has asserted that sports and PE are crucial to the growth of a country.    

According to him, participating in physical activity helps people build a strong character, confidence, and happiness, as well as the ability to manage issues. He pointed out that these qualities usually help youth become better equipped to face the challenges of the competitive world, strengthening the cohesion and togetherness of a nation.

Prof. Ammah made this assertion at the North Campus Assembly Hall, UEW, during the opening ceremony of a two-day conference organised by the Department of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Sports (HPERS) in collaboration with Grambling State University, USA. The two-day event, held from Tuesday, 28th February to Wednesday, 1st March, 2023, was under the theme “Physical Education and Sports: The Hub of National Development”.

Prof. Jonathan Ammah

He underscored the economic, social, political, health and educational impacts of sports on national development. He indicated that the building of infrastructure, the manufacture of capital and consumer goods, the provision of services, the dissemination of information, advertising expenditures and sponsorship budgets all contribute to the rapid development of nations’ economies.     

“The FIFA World Cup is a massive sporting event that draws billions of people and earns billions of dollars in revenue. For example, a 30-second advertisement aired during the 2022 FIFA World Cup by the US host broadcaster, FOX was $437,000 which even was increased to $600,000 during the US – England clash.

“The Qatari government spent over $22 million to build stadiums, roads, airports, subways, railroads, hotels, restaurants, and other amenities for the most recent FIFA World Cup. These infrastructures will undoubtedly hasten her development. Hosting a sporting event such as the Olympics serves as a boom for the host country’s economy,” he averred.  

An aerial shot of participants at the conference

Prof. Ammah advocated for high-quality physical education and sports programmes as well as the preparation of trained physical education teachers. He stressed the need for countries to integrate the development of sports and physical education curricula into their overall economic and strategic planning.

“We must invest in physical education and sports in our respective countries to attain national development,” he said.  

Prof. Ammah urged PE and sports professionals to put in place a policy to minimise the challenges and issues that PE and sports face.

Dr. Munkaila Seibu

The Head of Department, HPERS, Dr. Munkaila Seibu, disclosed that the conference was intended to establish a link between the lecturers and students of Grambling State University and HPERS in fulfilment of UEW’s strategic plan objective one, strategy 1.2, which says “strengthen and expand collaborative research with local and international partners”.  

He added that the conference was also meant to bring together diverse scholars in the field of PE and sports to share their current scientific research findings and experiences as well as for international exposure.

 “Indeed, this conference will also allow the representatives of the two universities to discuss further shared mission, vision, and programmes for collaborations and exchange programmes for lecturers and students,” he remarked.

Dr. Seibu urged all participants to be active, share knowledge and establish career networks to improve their research competencies.   

Faculty members of both institutions pose for a group photograph after the conference

The two-day conference saw presentations from Dr. Breleisha Gilbert, Prof. Raimi. A. Moronfolu, Prof. Aaron Livingston, Neenyi Akesseh Arthur, Dr. Richmond S. Sorkpor, Nikiel Winston, Dr. Munkaila Seibu and Karleisha A. Coleman.

Some of the topics the facilitators spoke on included “Assessing African American Women with Preexisting Health Conditions and Perception of Aquatic Activities in Rural Communities; Influence of Sports Celebrity Endorsement on Bettors’ Patronage in Lagos Metropolis; Trends and Issues of a Kinesiology, Sport, and Leisure Studies Major; and the Impact of Diversity in Sport Management Education”. 

The Ag. Dean of the Faculty of Science Education, Prof. Victus Samlafo, presided over the conference. Dr. Emmanuel Sarpong, Dr. Ernest Acheampong and Mr. Francis Frimpong were also in attendance.

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