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Proffessor Niall Moyna, Health & Human Performance, DCU, pictured at the launch of  the innovative online GAA learning portal LCPE.ie, which supports the introduction of Physical Education at Higher and Ordinary Level in the Leaving Certificate Examination.
Proffessor Niall Moyna, Health & Human Performance, DCU, pictured at the launch of  the innovative online GAA learning portal LCPE.ie, which supports the introduction of Physical Education at Higher and Ordinary Level in the Leaving Certificate Examination.

Moyna: 'GAA Leaving Cert learning portal can produce leaders'


By John Harrington

Professor Niall Moyna believes the GAA’s new online learning portal for the Leaving Cert PE course will help produce future leaders of our communities.

Access to the portal is provided free of charge to all teachers and learners undertaking Physical Education as an examination subject in the Leaving Certificate and can be accessed through desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile browsers.

“Students taking this course will be the first of the new generation with a much broader context of what is involved with sport,” said Moyna. “They will go back to the community and they will be much better leaders in the future.

“These people will come out with an understanding of physiology, of psychology, of how people learn skills. In the GAA, as an amateur organisation, if you haven’t taken science, it can be daunting when you go in for the first time.

“Suddenly we will have 100s of kids with a background in this, and that can only be positive down the road, in the quality and level of coaching.”

Students taking the new Leaving Cert PE subject from September of this year will sit the first Leaving Certificate Physical Education (LCPE) exam in 2020.

Moyna believes even more should be done to make PE a core subject in the curriculum.  

“PE was never taken seriously,” he said. “I was teaching it, and realised I was a glorified recreation teacher. That’s how I was perceived, and that’s why I wanted something else.

“Football and hurling is like a game of chess now, you have to be able to think in three dimensions, and you look at the World Economic Forum, they look at creativity, to be able to work as part of a team. There is no better way to learn that through sport.

“But if you go back to health and wellness, I think PE has failed in this country. Not a single kid is tested on an annual basis.

“A parent should be able to see a fitness profile of their child, which means we combine home economics, human biology, and come up with a curriculum where they understand the impact.

“Remember the top 25 will like sport anyway, but we have a responsibility to everyone, and that’s why sport and health are two different things.”

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