Monday, November 24, 2008

National Sports Convention: Part 2 - Sports Schools should go private.

The National Sports Convention had a resolution requesting for the Sports Schools to come under the jurisdiction of the Sports Ministry rather than the Education Ministry. This has been the perennial problem between the Sports Ministry and Education Ministry. While it is called Sports School the control rests with the Education Ministry and the sporting performance of the students is far below achievable levels. The Sports Ministry believes their input is far from properly considered and this is always an ongoing problem.

Before the Sports Ministry embarks on a journey to have the jurisdiction transferred to them, it is wise they review the whole structure of the schools from teaching staff, students, facilities and the curriculum itself. Since the formation of Sports School, it has slowly lost its purpose. The qualitative aspects all round has deteriorated and therefore the results are not forthcoming. I think taking over the schools would create a bigger job of rehabilitation rather than getting straight to the main purpose of sports school.

My suggestion is to permit the existing sports schools to be phased out and while that is underway, the Sports Ministry may want to draw up a blueprint to set up private sport schools very similar to the independent schools like in UK and Australia. This school to be funded by the Sports Ministry must also open its doors to others who are prepared to pay the fees.. A full boarding school with normal school curriculum and squeezed into it is sporting activities. The school timing shall be Monday to Friday from 6.30 am to 10.00 pm while Saturday from 6.30 am to 6.30pm.

A typical day in such a school is :
  • 0630 to 0745 - Fitness runs/ Strength building
  • 0800 to 0820 - Breakfast
  • 0830 to 1030 - Classes
  • 1030 to 1100 - Break
  • 1100 to 1300 - Classes
  • 1300 to 1345 - Lunch
  • 1345 to 1430 - Rest
  • 1430 to 1530 - Classes
  • 1530 to 1600 - Tea
  • 1615 to 1800 - Game /Training
  • 1830 to 1915 - Dinner
  • 1930 to 2130 - Homework and Studies
  • 2200 to 0600 - Sleep time
Obviously there would be re-adjustments taking account of a number of need requirements. More important such a school must have all the teachers living within the school premises and they must be present during homework and studies time to help the students. The meals here should be approved diet by qualified nutritionists such that it aids and abets the growth of the students. Sports science, bio-medical, strength building and mental strength development has to be incorporated into the curriculum.

Equally such a school has to carry a comprehensive electronic database of its students, not only for academic performance but also on their sporting activities including their progress.

Such a school in fulfilling the basic curriculum can then go on to recruit the best teachers who are sporting bias and implement the full needs of a sports school without unnecessarily worrying of the bureaucracy that would otherwise prevail. If the school is managed on a prescribed standard there is no reason why potential sports stars be given scholarships to enter into such an academy.

From the very start the students would be used to a certain "class" and standards which itself would breed the future sporting generation. I think the Sports Ministry must look at this idea carefully.The Sports Ministry has to think outside the box and look at a bigger picture with the input of standards from the onset. The future is not based on mundane process and styles that we have used in the past. We must re-engineer qualitatively in a scientific and corporate manner if we want to produce world class sportsmen. We can and we should.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Two questions:-
1. What quantitative data is there to prove the sports performance of the Sports schools fell short of expectations? Its been more than 10 years since the first sports school was established. Could the administrators provide statistics of how many of the students there have gone and represented the country if that is considered a yardstick for achievement? More accurate would be the ratio of success (represented national senior level) versus failure (drop-outs) from the sports scene upon completing their education there. Of course certain sports which athletes peaked at a young age like gymnastics and diving will be exceptions. Detailed studies in sports science has proven that it takes 10 years of dedicated training to attain expertise in sport. Athletes who began their education in the above said school at the age of 13 or younger, apart from the two mentioned sports, the athletes who went on to don national senior teams colours (22 years old and above)are the true indicators of what role the sports school would have played in shaping and developing them.
The sports school itself is sometimes guilty of glorifying premature achievements of its junior athletes, can't blame them(administrators)though because pressured by arm chair critics from the Education Ministry, Sports Ministry and this article alike who want 'instant' success. Some athletes could have been 'pushed' to succeed as a result from these pressures,resulting in them giving up the moment they leave school. Another reason for justification of the success:failure ratio is counter check the type of future athletes selected into the schools. Success at the junior level is not a true reflection of the development of an expert athlete. The vast difference of our national sports teams achievement at junior level compared to the seniors should provide enough evidence. How many athletes from the school 'burn out' after going through the sports school regime? Your suggestion on the daily time-table showed around 3 1/2 hours allotted to sports training and 7 hours for academic lessons. Can we expect to see sport excellence developed? The physical from the sports training and academic mental stress afflicted on the poor athlete would result in we not achieving anything at all. Mind you these athletes are children and not adults. My suggestion would be a special academic curriculum which consist of maximum of 4 critical subjects taught (BM, English, Maths and Sports Science) and a flexible period to sit for PMR and SPM exams.

2. What difference would another bureaucracy-strapped Ministry make in running the 'private' school(s)? Presently the sports schools come under the purview of the Education Ministry's sports and physical education dept, who have only the two schools to govern and yet faces so many criticisms, maybe they are the source of the problems.What more would another Ministry who may know a little bit more about sports but experience in administrating and educating student athletes is another kettle of tea. Just because the Ministry seems to be a better 'cash cow' in channelling money to sports, doesn't mean they can do a better job. This is a typical mentality of the national sports associations who do not do their homework in developing their future charges but expect someone to bring them up and when the present nurseries are not producing enough or the right ones, they unhesitatingly blame the schools. How many of the NSAs' administrators who thump their chests during the convention have stepped into the sports school compound before an looked into the daily routine of the staff and students there? Maybe the writer should pay a courtesy call to the school and spend a day, thus making better recommendations in future articles.