– Ministry/GTU launches 56th National Schools’ Championships
The Ministry of Education and Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) yesterday launched the 56th edition of The National Schools’ Cycling, Swimming and Track and Field Championships with Minister of Education, Dr. Nicolette Henry reaffirming the importance of sports in the schools’ curriculum.
It was announced that the Track and Field competition of the 2016 Championships will be held at the National Stadium at Providence, November 22-25 while the swimming will be done at the National Aquatics Centre at Liliendaal on November 21. In addition, for the first time, all cycling events will be held on November 21 at the National Park.
The theme displayed on the banner this year was “three venues, one big championship”. Minister Henry ensured that she use the opportunity of the launch that was held at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) Headquarters in Kingston, to trump up the need for the event to be a spinoff of the inclusion of sports on the schools’ curriculum.
“We need to start training our students from the nursery. It is my firm belief that sports must be introduced at the earliest level if we really want to identify and train the best of our potential athletes in any sporting discipline. While a National Sports Policy is crucial for the development of sports, we cannot overlook having sports as an integral part of the schools’ curriculum,” Henry told the audience.
“There is need for stronger support and policies for sports in schools across Guyana. I must admit that the present arrangement for games and sports in most of our schools is unsatisfactory. In some of our schools it is optional for the students to participate in games and sports, and as a matter of fact, far too many do not take part in sports,” Henry continued.
The Minister said that the National Sports Policy will address those gaps. She said that it is the Government’s desire that sports education be implemented in all schools with complete sincerity. Henry said that a lot more needs to be done, but the Government is doing everything within its power to foster and support sports in schools.
Also present at the head table of the launch yesterday were Chief Education Officer, Marcel Hutson, GTU President, Mark Lyte, Principal Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Glendon Fogenay, Edison Jefford, Digicel’s Head of Marketing, Jacqueline James and Banks DIH Non Alcoholic Brand Manager, Clayton Mckenzie among several other stakeholders, who were part of the audience at the Launch.
Hutson spoke of the importance of sport in students’ all-round development while Lyte informed on the preparedness of the institutions to host the 2016 Championships. Lyte said that entries for all but one of the 15 Districts are already in.
In addition, the GTU President indicated that the Leonora Facility was not chosen this year since some logistical and technical issues arose during a feasibility study. He noted that when surveyed it was discovered that a lot of the Districts are still coming to grips with the changes of the event, such as the need for every athlete to have a running shoes.
According to Lyte, it would be imprudent to take children in sweltering heat to compete on that rubber surface without shoes. He noted that is only one issue, but there were others that could not place the Championships at Leonora this year.
He however announced that the 2017 Championships will be heading to Leonora since all of the Districts will be ready. Lyte indicated that the Championships this year at the Stadium will be yet another resounding success since all efforts are being made.
Representing the primary sponsor of the event, Digicel, James echoed Lyte’s sentiments, stating that the company is anticipating another successful event. James said that she agrees with sports in education model since they also just recently contributed to the development of a school. She challenged sports associations to take the Championships seriously and do more to develop those athletes and talent that emerge from the National Schools’ Championships.
Banks DIH also gave its endorsement of the event. McKenzie indicated that the company will be continuing its relationship with the event under its Malta Supreme and Rainforest Water Brands. He believes that the event will continue to grow even as changes are being made that will bring into focus practices that are internationally recognised.
The National Schools’ Championships will host in excess of 1500 athletes from across Guyana, traditionally representing Guyana’s largest schools’ sport event.
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