PARENTS who see sport as a waste of time have been blamed for leaving physical education in Hong Kong more than a decade behind the United Kingdom. A British expert in PE curriculum, Dr Robert Carroll, of Manchester University, said Hong Kong should establish the subject as a proper part of the curriculum like mathematics or history. 'Physical education in Hong Kong is now going through the stage the UK was at back in the 1980s,' Dr Carroll said. 'It was only included in the Hong Kong Certificate Education Examination in 1989, but not in advanced-level examinations.' A-level PE was introduced in England in 1988. Speaking yesterday at a Forum on Assessment in Secondary School Physical Education, Dr Carroll said: 'Talk of introducing physical education at A-level standard only began in Hong Kong recently.' He pointed out that making physical education an examinable subject was the way to promote sport education. 'Raising the status of PE can be done by making it educational and less recreational,' he said. In the UK, physical education developed a broader field of knowledge after it was included in the examination system. 'Theories like sports safety, body functions, sciences and social sciences related to physical education are included in the syllabus. 'The course itself is no longer confined to physical activity, it is more like a proper examinable subject, thus it will win support from parents and school principals,' he said. Ho Fung College PE teacher Chan Kui-yin supported the suggestion. 'When we first started the course, there were only 20 students, and we had a hard time getting resources and convincing students' parents. 'Most parents consider doing physical education a waste of time and of no benefit to their kids' future, so we lost students with great potential.' Mr Chan said since PE was included in the curriculum in 1989, parents and the school's principal had taken it more seriously. One-quarter of the school's Form Four students take PE as an HKCEE subject.