The long standing stand-off between Government and Teachers over teacher’s participation in extra-curricular activities will greatly hurt sport. I’m no politician and will not go into the Politics of the issue, but it is painful that the matter has dragged on for long and involvement of teachers in Sport in most schools has greatly reduced, and in most cases halted.
For one to have more of a chance of becoming a successful sport star and develop through the ranks, they should have at least had some kind of basic grounding at school level. Developmental stage is key for a sport person. This is where identification of potential and liking for a particular sport code is nurtured. Over the years, teachers at primary and secondary school have played a pivotal and marked role in identifying and nurturing talent from an early age.
Teachers have been a critical cog wheel in sport development and their non-involvement in extra-curricular activities, in particular Sport, will be detrimental to the country. One can dismiss this, but over time we will realise just how this stand-off has affected Sport development. Like I have posited, teachers play a great role in identification at the early stages and they ground and nurture potential. This is not happening as much as it used to, thus there will be a gap. Those youngsters who might have been identified to be athletes will go through the gaps.
We all know the background to the stand-off. Over the past few years we have heard both sides of the story as per the Authorities and as per the view of the teachers themselves. The issue of Conditions of Service has dragged on for far too long, and teachers, and by extension students, are among those affected by the issue not being resolved and laid to rest. Teachers have taken a stance, rightly or wrongly so, and whether we agree with it or not is another issue for another day. They drag their feet with regards extra–curricular activities like after school sport activities. What has to be done is for the speedy resolve of the stand-off so that teachers can once again take part in extra-curricular activities and play the role they used to do as coaches and trainers. It is a matter of urgency that the stand-off is resolved, lest we suffer the consequences in the future.
I was recently disturbed by news doing the rounds that Botswana will this year not participate in the COSSASA games to be held in Lesotho. These are regional Games for youth athletes, as administered by the Botswana Integrated Sports Association. BISA hoists athletics championships from regional to national level with the eventual winners representing the country at the upcoming COSSASA games. This has not happened this year and there is fear that we will not participate.
At the end of the day, it’s not Government or Teachers who suffer, BUT Botswana sport. This issue has to be resolved before we miss out on identifying talent at an early age. We might just be losing out on identifying future sports stars.