Can school sports be accessible to children with disabilities?
Why is there no healthy food in lafki or is it hugely overpriced?
Can schools have sports clubs or teams so that children can participate for free.
What will you do if you find out that your child is bullying another child?
These are some of the questions that the youth from the “Megaphone” Youth Network and over 260 students in the hall of Voice It 2023 asked the experts and the representatives of the legislative and executive power, who joined in the discussions about #Bullying, #Curriculum and #SportAndHealthyFood.
See below an overview of the third topic addressed by the children – Sports and healthy nutrition – and what the politicians answered on the important topics for young people. The conversation was attended by: Deputy Minister of Health Assoc. Mihail Okoliyski and Ekaterina Yosifova, co-founder of the “For the Food” Foundation, as well as Tiana and Laura from “Megafon”.
According to the results of a focus group conducted by megaphones, students fail to eat healthy in a school environment. Breaks are short and there is not enough time to wait in line for food, eat and return to class. The stalls offer mostly junk food, and the chairs are an unpleasant environment and often offer stale food as well. According to the youth, sport is not equally accessible to everyone, and there is discrimination in school hours, because students are compared according to standards submitted by people who have better physical skills than the students actually have. Children with disabilities do not get the opportunity to participate and it is very important to find a way to include children with mobility problems. The young people addressed the following questions to the politicians: Why is it that healthy food is not offered in the stalls, and if it is, is it not limited to its overcharge? How can students’ interest in sports be increased? What can I do if I don’t meet the 2.20 meter jump standard, because the standards lead to demotivation and loss of interest in sports classes for students because they feel doomed to a class in which they will not do well anyway. How can this be changed? Could there be sports clubs or teams in schools so that children can participate for free instead of relying solely on their parents if they are interested in other sports such as fencing, swimming, tennis?
Prof. Mihail Okoliyski: There are regulations regarding school gossip that are obviously not followed. This is because the control is not good, and the reason for the insufficient quality control is that there are not enough colleagues to do the checks because of the low wages. It is a matter of internal attitude that students do not buy chips and the standard junk food. Self-control is important.
Ekaterina Yosifova: Control by RZI is a painful topic and there are often direct arrangements between RZI and catering companies. The result is not only that checks are not made, but even when a report is made, there is never anyone to blame. Catering companies, for their part, justify themselves by saying that if they offer nutritious food, the students do not buy it and it stagnates. The students themselves must indicate that they want to buy something other than the waffle. It is a good practice from other countries that within the school, children have access to a kitchen where they can prepare a sandwich or a menu of ingredients that they choose by themselves.
Prof. Mihail Okoliyski: In sports, young people need good conditions to attract them to play sports. And it is important to see our idols among Bulgarian athletes. For example, the problems in football in our country are demotivating. Little is done by the influencers in our country. They can put certain athletes in a good light and give them a voice so that children follow their example and get motivated. Such an example is our skier Albert Popov. In Bulgaria, we have athletes who can be an inspiration to children and young people, and they should be given a voice and popularity.
Ekaterina Yosifova: Running, basketball, volleyball, football are usually included in sports classes at school, but the interests of most children are not only in these sports. Thus, classes become more of a duty instead of a pleasure. Another important aspect of the matter is that our athletes are successful, not because the state has invested in their growth, but because they have relied on relatives and friends who put all their abilities to support them. Sport in Bulgaria is expensive and inaccessible – the cards for swimming, winter sports, tennis – these are all sports that are expensive and the state must provide access to them as well.
Prof. Mihail Okoliyski: Whether there can be sports clubs or teams in schools, so that children can take part in them for free, is a matter more for the Ministry of Education and Science. The Ministry of Health agrees to discuss the possibilities with the Ministry of Health and to support such an idea.
You will find a video from Voice It 2023 on the NNC Facebook page here . In the discussion sessions of our youth forum, the young people in the hall asked many more questions, which due to the limited time remained unanswered within the event, but our team sent the questions to the responsible institutions in writing and we await their answers. we will post them as soon as we get them.