Development or competition
The authorities need to understand the difference between development and competition.
The process of development is long term and is engaged in by appropriately qualified personnel working consistently with athletes.
Competition allows for the display of the skill level attained by athletes at any given point in time.
The outcome of competition is the analysis of the skill level attained and of its implementation on the field of play. This allows the coach to return to the development process with the particular athlete to ensure continued progression.
The process therefore involves both the physical educator and the coach working in tandem.
We have at all times to pay attention to the fact that it is all too easy for schools, anxious to prove their prowess in sports to overlook, from the very earliest days of their school career, those students who have a low skill base. Such students are often marginalized and may never enter the world of sport except, perhaps, as a spectator.
Some students may simply be turned away from sports altogether. Where this happens the education system would have failed the student and failed in the very education process it professes to employ.
Competition without development leads to a select few engaging in sport. It leads to a rather crude and useless distinction between brains and brawns which may very well tarnish the image and personality of the student s for the rest of their lives, not just their school careers.
It seems therefore an imperative that those responsible for the sports programmes in our educational institutions adopt a more sensitive approach that is informed by the fundamentals of the education process itself.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, needs to establish a very broad based forum that informs the way in which sports is introduced and developed within the educative process overseen by this institution.
There has to be a meeting of minds among parents, teachers, students, physical educators, coaches and the administrators of the various national sports associations relative to the developmental path to be pursued in respect of sports in the nation’s education system.
The family introduces the fundamental interest in sport but this has to be nurtured within the education system.
We cannot afford to ignore the current situation and its impact of the overall development of our students as people with an important role to play in the future of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
We can only ignore them at our own peril.