Our Readers' Opinions
May 25, 2007
Physical Education in SVG

“From being the other subject to being the alternative” Pt: 1

by Roxell John 25.MAY.07

When one mentions the term Physical Education today in our Vincentian society, 70% of our population will respond with resentment. The thought of physical activity, sweating, being in the sun for a period of time or just playing sports is looked at as simply a waste of time.{{more}}

It is not only the person on the street who has this view, but the powers that be also slight the importance of this aspect by not paying it much attention. The policy towards Physical Education and sports has been one that has just relegated it to the pits of our plans in national development.

It is important to note the influence that the policy of a government has on the development of an aspect in a nation’s development. When one begins a study of administration in sports one must commence this study by looking at the POLICY that is in placed in the given country pertaining to sports.

Policy here refers to Government support and incentives and how far they are readily available to all participants in all disciplines as well as the concept of amateurism and its encouragement or not.

Policy influences greatly and is clearly linked to provision of facilities and administration.

Political ideology or the dominant beliefs and values determine policy. Many countries participate and want to win medals at the Olympics in order to build their reputation. Some countries pursue this goal at the expense of the majority.

Most of the successes gained by the majority of countries in international sport today have traditionally been left to the local and national governing bodies. Some politicians even believe that sports and politics do not mix.

Everyone including our politicians applaud our winners on the local, regional and international scene but they are normally left to their own devices after the fanfare. There is little drive to attract world class events; time allotted for Physical Education in schools have been eroded and the traditional amateur approach to sport has held us back.

Without Government’s financial support a number of important facilities would not be acquired. What do performers need in order to reach their potential? Some of the necessities are: Specialist Sports Schools and Colleges, better training venues for elite performers, highly qualified committed coaches, qualified physical education teachers in schools at all levels, nutritionists, sports scientists, Psychologists, Physiotherapists and mentors.

Policy determines the form and structure of administration in sports at every level. It influences the organization and funding of sport related matters at all levels. It determines whether the ideal pyramid involving schools, Clubs and National Governing Bodies have an efficient structure to channel talent to the top.

Here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines the Pyramid is not well structured if structured at all. In a country of twenty-seven years of political independence we have only seven university graduates with degrees in Physical Education related areas; Retired Director of Sports Mrs Lynette Glasgow, the current Director of Physical Education and Sports Nelson Hillocks, Education Officers with responsibility for Physical Education and Sports Messrs St. Clair Bramble, Elford Charles and Ortis Jack and the graduates from the University of Havana, Cuba Truman Quashie (inactive in this area) and Roxell John, A’ Level Physical Education Lecturer at the St. Vincent Community College.

Three are months away from graduating from the Latin American International School for Sports in Cuba while another is nearing the end of her third year there. Added to these, four other Vincentians are pursuing degrees in related fields in Venezuela.

This number in comparison with the other areas of study shows a complete disparity in terms of the importance shown to Physical Education.