– I don’t have an obvious explanation, says agency manager Frode Nilsen about the development in Bergen.
In recent years, a number of sports leisure plans have emerged in Norway.
The leisure schemes are inspired by the SFO scheme in public schools. They are run by sports teams and are an offer for children who want to be active and play sports after school.
In public schools, participation in OFS is declining.
More than 700 children in Bergen
In Bergen, at least 14 sports teams have started sports leisure plans in recent years.
More than half began offering after 2016. Four new ones were added in 2020.
Most offer services for children in grades 2-7. In total, they have about 720 participants this year, BT’s survey shows.
At the same time, the number of students in the SFO public scheme in Bergen has decreased somewhat. Last year, there were 842 fewer SFO students than in 2016.
Why this has happened, the manager of the agency Frode Nilsen in the municipality of Bergen has no answer.
– I have no explanation that is obvious and verifiable. We can wonder if the last year with corona and the home office has led to fewer people using SFO.
– Could the appearance of alternative leisure schemes be part of the explanation?
– It may be a possibility, but we have not investigated it.
The map below shows where the various sports leisure plans are located in and around Bergen. Click on the blue dots to learn more about the offer.
Strengthen the quality of the OFS
National figures show the same trend as in Bergen (see table). But the Directorate of Education has no explanation as to why.
The head of the department, Hedda Huse, says it should be up to each individual family to choose whether the children will go to the SFO or whether they choose an alternative offer.
– More and more people choose alternative schemes. Could it mean that the quality of the public SFM is not good enough?
– It is difficult to say what the reason is. We aim to strengthen the quality and content of the OFS offer throughout the country. There is an important reason we now have one OFS national framework plan, she responds to this.
– The alternative is computer games.
Unlike the regular SFO, there is no formal education or course requirement to be an instructor in a sports leisure program.
For example, there are players in Åsane Football and Tertnes Handball, who work in the leisure program of Varegg IL.
The youngest participants are six years old. The oldest are twelve years old.
Frank Hellevik believes this is positive. He is the coach of Varegg’s first team and responsible for the sports team’s soccer leisure scheme.
– The little ones get to be a bit with the big ones, and we teach the older ones to take good care of the little ones. The alternative is usually for students to come home from school and sit down with a computer game or a phone.
The total price of 2535 kroner per month is slightly cheaper than an ordinary SFO venue in Bergen, which costs 220 crowns more. Hellevik believes that is absolutely correct.
– It should not be the price that decides if they can go here or not, but if they want to play football instead of going to the OFS, he says.