Monday, March 8, 2010

Studies or Sports or a combination of both - Is there a need to re-examine the fundamentals of the Sports Schools?

It is the dream of every parent that their child must do well in his or her educational pursuit. Even if the child is climbing in heights in the field of sports, most parents still want their child to have a minimum in educational achievement to help them through the rigour of challenges in life . Essentially there is a need for some balancing act between studies and sports giving both a chance to succeed by being weighted in approach wherever necessary.

I think it is with this wisdom that the Sports Schools were set up and if we look at Bukit Jalil Sports School's (BJSS) "Mission Statement", it provides a self explanatory outlook.


Literal translation: "Prepare education and sports training for the birth of athletic students of world standard".

If we take this a step further and look at BJSS's "Vision Statement":


Literal translation: "SSBJ produces athlete of world standard"

Now we get to the "Objectives" of SJSS, one of which is:

"Memberi peluang kapada pelajar di Malaysia cemerlang dalam bidang sukan dan akademik".

Literal translation: "Provide opportunities for students in Malaysia who are excellent in the field of sports and education".

On paper we cannot dispute what has been enshrined for the existence of the Sports Schools. Very novel and noble ie to combine education and sports, thereby giving our students the opportunities to become world class sportspersons. The key point here is to develop world class sportspersons not world class academics. Having stated that, it does not in any way devalue the aspect of education in sports school. After all it is still a school with the national curriculum.

It is because of this that the classroom timetable is arranged in such a way that:

Monday, Tuesday & Thursday - 9.30am to 2.40pm & 8.30 to 9.50pm
Wednesday - 7.30am to 1.30pm & 8.30 to 9.50pm
Friday - 9.30am to 12.10pm

thereby giving the students the time for sports training in the mornings and evenings. This also allows the National Sports Associations (NSAs) to arrange their training programmes accordingly.

Again on paper, all these are well documented and in essence there should not be any problems. Things should move in a "clock work" manner based on the outlined principles. The only area that needs attention by the various NSAs and other related parties is to adopt to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of the Sports Schools, when they need the students for national training.

This aspect is fundamental for the Administrators of the Sports Schools as they are the "guardians" of the students. The parents have entrusted the administrators and left their children in their care. Therefore there must be SOPs in the Sports Schools to get students to attend national training. NSAs must be aware of such SOPs and strictly adhere to them.

This brings me to the topic of the recent misunderstanding between the Sports Schools and the Project 2013 national hockey team under the "Pelapis Programme"of the Ministry of Youth & Sports (KBS) undertaken by the National Sports Council (NSC). My blog article titled "Is the Sports Schools right in recalling the players?" dated Thursday, 25th February, outlines in brief some of the pertinent matters.

Since then there has been a debate including some questioning the existence of the Sports Schools. Some think that it is no different from any ordinary school so why should students be in such schools. This argument stems from the fact that the Sports Schools recalled the Project 2013 players from national training. In fact there have been "slip ups" on the side of NSC on getting the paperwork promptly and timely to the Sports Schools. The point being the training commenced even without getting proper clearance for the Sports Schools players. The initial "knee jerk" reaction by Sports Schools to recall the players seems a justifiable action.

If the matter had ended there and the various paperwork was cleared in the worst case in 2 or 3 days, then there would not be a follow up article by me. The matter got "out of hand" when stories emerged from various quarters indicating that the players withdrew because of SPM classes. If that is right, the reason itself challenges the very existence of Sports Schools. All the novel and noble ideas laid down by the founding fathers of Sports Schools including its structures and schedules has been undermined by such a reason.

It is the re-arrangement of timetables and having the teachers with the students to assist the students and care for them, that would provide the students and their parents the trust that Sports Schools are providing that balance in education and sports. If you take away sports and just concentrate on studies, Sports Schools would not live up to its Mission, Vision and Objectives. Rightfully, it might as well be an ordinary school.

There is no need to re-examine the Sports Schools as the enshrined "Statements" are absolutely clear. In this instances ie relating to the Project 2013 hockey team, my opinion is that it is an issue of differences that could have been solved easily if parties "did not hold on to their guns", in trying to display each others strength. Strangely, people have been advocating various equations including that the Sports Schools should come under the NSC. All these are "day dreaming" mental exercises of "empire building", which would only go to destroy the good work of the past and present people. As it is, all the parties involved are supposed to work for the betterment of sports but this saga goes to show that sports was the ultimate loser and in this case it was hockey. The point i am making is that if we follow the policies that have been laid down and adopt the SOPs, i think life would be simpler and we all can concentrate on developing world class sportspersons, not world class "trouble makers". This is what we are all here for.


Anonymous said...

Dear Gandhi,
What happen if the students failed in both sports + education? Any future plan for them?

Simple case for you to find the answer:
A student push all out for hockey and don international achivement. But failed the SPM exams or didnt sit for SPM exams. Suddenly he got injured and no more hockey. Any welfare for them? Any future guarantee for them?

Coach and management should know which is which. That's MOST IMPORTANT! Don't simply use this children for their own interest and spoil their future. If a diploma or degree is hard for them to achive, at the bottom least they must pass the SPM!
I don't think Pra U at BJSS and BPSS can allow the Non-SPM holder can further study there.
Life is challenging for them nowadays..

Anonymous said...

Great leaders of today build the Nations of the future

Dear Gandhi,

The response to this current article is poor because this issue is going nowhere.

Base on the responds to earlier article, I believe a number of responds was from the school administration itself who feels that the school is in good hands and have confidence with their setup.

Well from the other set of responses, it is also believed that the junior Project 2013 team is also in good hands with their current JWC coach and MSN/MHF administration.

If we look at the current world cup in India, teams like German, Netherland, India, Pakistan, Autrallia and England are already playing their teenage boys in these international tournaments. These same group of boys will play in the JWC in 2013 and will definitely flare well due to international exposure at very early age. I beleive that those boys who are 17 years old are still school students and came out to represent their country with glory. They are not afraid of injuries neither their country's SPM.

The National Sports Schools have got to crystal clear understand of its roles and responsibilities. The setup was not just a mere setup. The National Sports School was the brainchild of our former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad. His vision was to see Malaysia as the a front runner in sports in Asia and one of the top in the world by 2020. Therefore he planted to idea to centralise all top upcoming sportsmen and sportswomen in the country at MSN and National Sports Schools. By nurturing them into specialised sports at very early age, he hoped to developed sportsmen and sportswomen with very powerful mindset and strength to outbeat the other upcoming nations. He believes that sports brings glamour to our country. He also believes that sports brings respect to our country. He wants to see the Malaysian flag is raised during the world games and tournaments and our Malaysian Negaraku to be played for everyone in the world to hear. He wants the entire nations to stand upon hearing to our Negaraku. This is a dream of our true Malaysian. This mindset should also be permanently installed in each and every individual in MSN and the National sports School. There should never be any doubts or any negative elements in the mind of the students, sportsmen, sportwomen nor the trainers neither the administrators on the consequenses of what if they failed. This is not a chipsmore motto - now you see and now you don't.

Where you were yesterday is not as important as where you are heading today and tomorrow. Because yesterday was history. But today is action and tomorrow is vision for the future.

Will all our current administrators and leaders think alike our founding fathers and leaders to create a strong and noble foundation to uplift sports in our country?


Anonymous said...

refer to comment on march 9,2010 10.50am...
why are you thinking so negatively, as a sportsman, you never think negatively, if you do you never win. In the 1st place, when you enrol to sports school, you are compulsory to serve the nation if you're called upon. Same like in the army, when you called upon for duty,what you do< can you say i'm studying and worried if i get injured permanently. You only can be active as sportsman in high performance about 10 years. And if you want to study,you can do it later part of your life. Seen so many of them, so please understand that. If you have children, dont send them for sports,because as parent as you, your kid wont achieve anything in sports life, but if still send them to play any sports,you are making a sin.
The qualification for PRA-U in BJSS is 4 passes or 3 credits, you must be joking if they cant get that results.
In a day, you have 24 hours.. 8 hours sleep,left 16 hours to arrange your timetable. The smart teachers in BJSS especially must teach them how to manage their time, so they can teach the sportsperson in school. Once you step in as sportsman or sportswoman, never never think negatively. The day you think negatively,thats the day you will get injured


Anonymous said...

People who think of getting injured even before they get injured are retarded people.
They are not physically retarded but MENTALLY RETARDED.

And these mentally retarded people are even worse than handicapped people. Because OKU people also take part in Olympics but not a MENTALLY HANDICAPPED PERSON AS march 9 2010. 1050am.

I hope this March 9 2010 is not a coach in any school coaching hockey because if he is, he may be teaching his boys to be mentally retarded just like him. BEWARE