Dr.Hab., Professor V.F. Kostyuchenko1
Dr.Hab., Associate Professor G.V. Rudenko2
PhD, Associate Professor Yu.A. Dubrovskaya2
1Lesgaft National State University of Physical Education, Sport and Health, St. Petersburg
2St. Petersburg Mining University, St. Petersburg
Keywords: physical education, mass health and mentality, communication skills, physical education and sport specialist, sport assets, accessibility of sport facilities.
Background. The national government in its short- and long-term socio-economic development policies gives a special priority to the physical educaiton and sports sector services, particularly in the health and disease control issues. The relevant key policy documents underline that presently the national physical education and sports sector resource needs to be mobilized and activated to meet the social and economic progress challenges . The ambitious goals and mission of the national physical education and sports sector require new technologies and solutions to facilitate the physical education and sports infrastructure development and accessibility improvement projects with broader public advocacy campaigning components .
Objective of the study was to analyze the problems of the physical education and sports sector progress in Russia and offer potential solutions.
Results and discussion. As demonstrated by the practical experience of the recent physical educa-tion and sports projects, the efforts to promote physical education and sports activity may not be efficient enough unless effectively supported by relevant practical provisions, including the physical education and sport service affordability, quality and accessibility for every popular group on the whole and young people in particular, including the university graduates viewed as the leaders and ambassadors of the modern physical education and sports culture and healthy lifestyle.
It should be mentioned that the Russian population is still poorly informed on the values, missions and physical/ mental health benefits of the modern physical education and sport service, with a spe-cial role in the efforts to increase the public awareness played by the national mass media organiza-tions  – that often only distort the health/ life values and priorities of the children, adolescents and young adults. Regretfully, these health destruction policies and practices are facilitated by not only by a wide range of commercial vested interests and fraudsters (including ‘magicians’, ‘healers’, ‘extrasensory’ individuals etc.) but also certified health service specialists.
The physical education and sport service promotion policies and practices are still not efficient enough, and that is one of the reasons for the poor progress of the mass physical education and sport projects – as well understood by the leading physical education and sport sector specialists working in the national education system – who are still largely passive and unprepared to oppose the mass media organizations and commercial interests manipulating the public opinions on health issues .
A leading role in the efforts to broader engage the public in the mass physical education and sports activity shall be played by graduates of the physical education universities and departments. Tradi-tional academic education system is relatively narrow in many issues and not always gives a com-prehensive understanding of the modern professional responsibilities; albeit it is known that an in-clusive knowledge may easily offset minor incompetence in some details. Accumulated knowledge becomes an individual asset when effectively and efficiently employed to find theoretical and prac-tical solutions in the practical professional service. It should be confessed that presently the physical education and sport sector specialists and management are not prepared for effective public promo-tion campaigning, and the sector community is still in need of a new generation of specialists sensi-tive to the social realities and needs and prepared for reformative modern physical education and sports project activity to involve every population group in physical education and sports activity. It means that the modern competences of the physical education and sport specialist shall include classical marketing knowledgebase and communication skills.
The public relations (PR) and communication knowledge and skills shall include the abilities to communicate with people and cause influence on the public opinions by a wide range of means in-cluding logical thinking, speaking skills and certain artistry – as has always been traditional since the ancient times. In the modern increasingly global world with its rapidly developed communication infrastructure the public relations and communication skills are particularly valuable and influential and, hence, shall be ranked among the key credentials of an individual professional background. Good communication and PR skills are indispensable in the initiatives to change public opinions on some issues, help shape up and activate a public opinion when it is lacking or passive; and spearhead the existing public opinions for some constructive project activity.
The growing value of the communication and PR component of the specialist responsibilities re-quires the traditional academic education curriculum being complemented by the relevant disciplines with modern didactic methods and tools to help consolidate the relevant knowledge and establish an interdisciplinary visioning to help the trainees cultivate excellent communication and PR competences and skills; with the role games and discussions modeling real PR situations and com-munication with potential customers ranked among the most efficient practical education methods.
The above concept was tested beneficial by our multiannual experiment designed to pilot a new Physical Education and Sport Sector Professionalism discipline in the master training curriculum – as verified by the progress of the trainees in the professional and personality development domains. The most notable progress was made in the speaking skills that are known to be highly important for authority and professional service quality. Progress in the communication and PR competences and skills was secured by a special component of the new Physical Education and Sport Sector Pro-fessionalism discipline . We believe that the academic demand for the modern communication and PR competences and skills will grow due to the high priority given to the mass physical educa-tion and sports promotion policies and practices by the national development strategies.
Conclusion. Negative trends reported by the national health statistics may be reversed by focused efforts to mobilize the available social, cultural and health resource of the national physical educa-tion and sports sector to improve the accessibility and affordability of the mass physical education and sports practices; expand the physical education and sports service infrastructure; promote healthy lifestyles with support from the mass media industry; step up the social sensitivity, commu-nication and PR competences and skills of the future physical education and sports sector specialists by the relevant interdisciplinary courses to help them master modern physical education and sports service models.
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The article analyzes some issues of the social, cultural and health policies of the current physical education and sports sector development strategy to underline that the mass physical inactivity may be explained by a variety of reasons including the still limited access to the physical education and sports service due to both the affordability issues and shortage of sport facilities; poor staffing of the physical education and sports service by the communal needs sensitive instructors; and the still limited physical education and sports promotion efforts to encourage the mass physical activity. The situation is further aggravated by the aggressive commercial promotion of ‘magic’ rejuvenation/ rehabilitation/ health medicines by mass media organizations. The authors believe that the negative trends may be reversed by the efforts to mobilize the available social, cultural and health resource of the national physical education and sports sector to improve the accessibility and affordability of the mass physical education and sports practices; expand the physical education and sports service infrastructure; promote healthy lifestyles with support from the mass media industry; step up the social sensitivity, communication and PR competences and skills of the future physical education and sports sector specialists by the relevant interdisciplinary courses to help them master modern physical education and sports service models.