EDUCATION AND SPORTS
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
There is a common adage that “all work no play makes Jack a dull boy, all play no work makes Jack a dull boy”. Schools are institutions where youths are trained in various vocations to be pursued as either their lifelong career or as a hobby. The ancient Greeks’ notion was that a healthy mind is found in a healthy body. How can we have a healthy body? It is through the engagement of the entire body in the form of physical exercises so as to enjoy the pleasure of mental and physical health to ease learning in our quest for knowledge.
On that note, our education technocrats had created room for sports in the national educational curriculum, which needs adequate allocation of time in order to spot out those who are talented and naturally gifted in various sporting disciplines like football, basketball, volleyball, field and tract events.
As a tradition in our school system, students have to be proven good in school sports contests at regional levels before going to the Independent Stadium at Bakau for the national competition. At the national competition, representatives from Gambia Amateur Athletic Association (GAAA) and the Youth and Sports ministry do their screenings and selection of competent ones to represent the nation at international competitions.
It should be borne in mind that we are in a world of diversity where people will never be equal in everything. Principals and teachers across the nation should make it a point of duty to encourage and accommodate such students in the education system and even promote them to the next grade. Many of such type of students, who are not academically inclined and are gifted in sports, are dropping from schools, because they fell sort of promotion criteria of their schools and cannot afford to pay the fees for private schools.
Everyday schools in the Greater Banjul Areas are going to the Stadium and those in provinces use their school fields for their inter-house competitions in preparation for regional and national athletics competitions instead of remaining in classrooms for their normal lessons.
The Ministry of Basic and Senior Education should allow sporting activities to take place not only for fun or merry making but as a part of physical education, which is another fundamental part of human development. The objective is more than what most students, parents and others may consider it. Close observation has shown that majority of students fail to take part in these important sporting activities during hits and competitions, even though they are good sprinters, but academically weak. T heir teachers kept chasing or begging them to take part during inter-house trainings and finals. Some of these students have the notion that these competitions are meant for meeting lovers or one for merry making and would use the day as an excuse to idle around until late in the day or into the night.
The committee responsible for the inter-schools competition needs to sensitise the nation adequately about the objectives of this competition and their expectation, if not the purpose of organising the events will be defeated. Human beings make life worthy and conducive in all aspects of human life. Gambia with a population of a little over 1.5 million people is yet to be represented in the word’s major sporting events. We need to reset our minds and diversify the promotion of all sporting disciplines. As sports is one of the biggest employers, which does not require academic competence why not youths involve themselves in sports and earn their living to be self reliant. So many of our able youths are sitting in vous, wasting their valuable time and depending on people, making live hectic for them as well as increasing their daily and monthly expenditures.
The selection of people with potentials has to be done with care, impartiality, professionalism and patriotism. Selection of the country’s participants in sports often leads to the country’s ill performance in major international events including officials who coach them.
The year 2012 will be the year of Olympics competitions and participants should be identified now and prepare them well before time and raise adequate fund for their trip to the United Kingdom.
Sports and Education are interrelated and cannot be separated. Our advice to the Ministry Of Youth and Sports is to collaborate with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education and Gambia Football Association to come up with a sports consortium to take care of all the sporting matters of the state. Such a consortium will train personnel and post them to schools where they will be in charge of all sporting activities in the schools and within communities and will identify and select best sports boys and girls across the length and breadth of The Gambia. This we assume will help the nation greatly in identifying and selecting competent people thereby generate income and groom sports people for the country and in the international arena.
Author: Janneh S Darboe