Should physical education in schools be mandatory, and why?
I do think so, but not the way they do it now. PE can be a very horrid, ruthless experience for some kids of secondary school age because this is when the body goes through the biggest changes and so many kids find it hard to deal with. PE, where you are forced to wear t-shirt and shorts and leap about in front of your peers can be humiliating (especially those poor kids that everyone picks on).
Team sports in PE were always awful for me at school, because I wasn't interested in sport, I realised school wasn't a proper reality and it didn't matter if you lost at rounders or hockey or whatever. I remember taking two-terms of track running instead of swapping over to hockey because, personally, I found running around a track a lot more enjoyable than failing at a horrid team sport where all the other girls took it far too seriously.
I think kids should be able to choose 'modules' in PE - for example I was terrible at team sport and never felt like I was getting proper exercise because of that, so I would have preferred to just do track-running or indoor aerobics all year. Some kids completely adore playing sports and would rather do that all year round.
I don't know if this is true of other schools, it certainly didn't happen at my school, but I think there should be a theory module in PE. Teach the kids about what's happening in their body as they exercise, teach them about the long-term benefits of exercise and what happens if they don't exercise. Teach them how to exercise properly and what methods of exercise are actually bad for you, or even how to eat to optimise the benefits of cardiovascular or resistance exercise.
And the annual Sports Day should be BANNED, as well as swimming galas.
I think all these things would make mandatory PE a lot more appealing.