By Edison Jefford
Under the theme “Developing Nationals”, The Ministry of Education yesterday hosted a ‘Forum on the Development of the National Schools
Championship in Guyana’ at the National Resource Centre on Woolford Avenue with the aim of creating a Development Plan.
Chief Education Officer, Olato Sam gave the forum his stamp of approval when he welcomed all participants from various stakeholders including the Ministry, Guyana Teachers’ Union, Guyana Olympic Association; respective sport associations, Non-Government Organisations, The Armed Forces, Government Agencies and the Corporate Community.
Sam also delivered the Opening Remarks. The Ministry’s Unit of Allied Arts, which manages the Physical Education programme, organised the event to facilitate varying views on drafting a Comprehensive Five-Year Plan on the development of the National Schools Cycling, Swimming and Track and Field Championships.
‘Nationals’ is held in alliance with the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) with stakeholder support. There were two Presentations, including one on South American Sports Organisation (ODESUR) Observers’ Programme in Brazil in November last year. Ex-GTU President, Colin Bynoe and Head of the Unit of Allied Arts, Desiree Wyles-Ogle made that Presentation after both attended the forum in Brazil.
Physical Education Head, Nicholas Fraser and Grace McCalman then presented on National Sports Culture. The Presentations acted as guides for three ‘Working Group Sessions’ that were established to focus on the dynamics of Nationals.
Group One examined Finance & Sponsorship for Nationals and its Culture; Group Two looked at Technical Development and Group Three addressed Organisational Structure: Polices and Rules. Each group presented their findings from practically looking at Nationals over the years; findings that will form the content of a Final Report, which will be presented to the Ministry and Union as the basis for a Comprehensive Development Plan.
Under Finance & Sponsorship, marketing the Championships was discussed in the context of the development of a positive image for the event. “Healthy Competition”, “Holistic Development” and transitioning athletes from Nationals to a greater platform were other issues discussed in the group looking at Finance and Sponsorship.
In terms of Culture, the group felt that policies needed to change to allow for Physical Education to play a greater role in academic development. It believed that resources for Physical Education should be disseminated evenly throughout the country. The group believed that a programme that vibrantly addresses sport in schools will create more awareness.
In Group Two, issues such as accommodation of athletes for Nationals; Nutrition and preparation were among the subjects discussed. “Preparing champions is different from just preparing athletes” the group said in its Presentation. The group discussed proper security and all the other technical areas related to proper standards for sports.
Meanwhile, in Group Three, which looked at Organisational Structure, the participants said that the policy makers, including CEO, Sam should emphasise sports in all schools as a policy while the other stakeholders from swimming, cycling and athletics must be included on committees so that a collective approach can be taken toward Nationals’ development.
The many findings of the three groups were handed to the moderator, Noel Adonis, who will put together a report that will be submitted to the Ministry. The report will be the basis upon which a Comprehensive Five-Year Development Plan will be formulated.
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