On Target
May 25, 2018
Ironies of the truth

It is often touted that education/academics and sports are inter-twined.

Therefore, persons who are adept in sports, are often encouraged to equip themselves with the necessary academic heft to complement and cushion their sporting prowess and talents.

This is common repetition that many of our policymakers and persons in authority rub in whenever there is forum in which young sports people who are of school age, are in attendance.

Ironically, those who make those pronouncements do so with an emptiness tantamount to mere rhetoric.

Their recommendations are remote from the current mechanisms in place in our education system, as they are not practising what they are advocating.

Expectations of those who frame and administer our national educational system are still based on the pursuance of certain professions, which are considered the glossy ones.

Hence, development and subsequent achievement in sports, are left to follow an undefined pathway, that comes about by coincidence and the innate talents of our young sportsmen and women.

The education set-up that exists today, is failing our students as the classrooms’ structure and layout, the amenities, the methodologies of teaching, among other facets, do not cater for the learning styles of the current generation.

We are generally still operating under conditions that obtained three decades ago, when our students are more open to question the status quo and the likes.

As it stands, our school system has little in place to cater for those students, who have creative minds and those who are only best at sports.

Invariably, those students who are adept at sports, are only acknowledged for their efforts when it matters most, but are often ridiculed when their academics do not match their sporting success.
These same students who carry the pride and joy of their institutions, bring them trophies, national recognition and other accolades, are still required to be the best at everything else the schools offer.

The narratives are plenty, as teachers in the main, are not accommodative of the schools’ sporting ambassadors and sometimes penalise them for missing assignments, while on the schools’ sporting duties.

They too, like their superiors, have not bought into the fact that sports is an integral part of human development and an agent of social change.

It is also common, that little attention and support are given to ensure that these student – athletes’ academics are taken care of, with the offer of additional support, while they concentrate on making a name for themselves and lifting the profile of their institution, via the medium of sports.

There are documented instances too, of students who have served their schools well in sports, have left their secondary institutions with low levels of proficiencies, as nothing was done to ensure some basic achievements.

But one cannot always lament on the current state of affairs, which has not been addressed by those who hold the power strings in their hands.

Instead those with a voice should continue to push the envelope, encourage and be advocates to a complete overhaul of our education system, such that sports becomes an integral part.

Among the possible changes which can be embraced is that some of our secondary schools be deemed sports schools, where the various disciplines are the focal areas, coupled with the teaching of the core areas, such Mathematics and English, and at least a social science.

This would ensure that students whose forte is sports can still remain in school, get a basic education, whilst achieving what they are best at.

Critically as well, for those who concede that education and sports go hand in hand, then they should then configure the Ministry of Education with that of Sports.

Before any sort of meaningful changes can take place, there needs to be persons who understand the emerging trends of the system and acknowledge that what we presently have, is not working for all students, despite their mouthing of inclusiveness.