Wednesday, Aug 5, 2020
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After-school sports program challenge

The appointment of a director of after-school sports(Evan Wisdom)by the Ministry of Education evolved out of a brilliant idea, offered by former Sports Minister Desmond Bannister.

When he first took over the new portfolio as Minister of Education, one of his priorities was to better regulate high school sports in the land. The first substantive step has been taken in bringing Wisdom on board.

The big challenge now is developing a structure that will live on for years to come and further enhance the national sports program. Only time will tell whether the decision turns out to be a”stroke of genius.”

Firstly, when one has full knowledge of the Bahamian sports terrain, it becomes quite clear that no one person can ever hope to put all of the pieces together to properly develop a body that will organize and coordinate national high school championships across the board.

I don’t know whether Minister Bannister’s concept of the after-school sports program includes an official help-team for the director. Well, the body of work that is necessary to appropriately get the program off the ground and functioning efficiently demands a full team.

Actually, a quasi-government organization is what ought to be considered, if the after-school sports program is to have the autonomy it needs to do its job. The program has been created by the government through the Ministry of Education. Its jurisdiction needs to be fully detailed. The guidelines and regulations should be presented to the related arms of school sports and the general public, particularly parents and guardians.

There is indeed another aspect that must be kept in mind, given the world sports environment today. However, the after-school sports program is organized, a legal element is advised. Sports organizations are being taken to court regularly these days. Injunctions can disrupt an entire program.

So, indeed this program undertaken by the Ministry of Education is certainly not a walk in the park. No, it is not an easy venture at all.

The view here is that Wisdom needs a deputy and others who will carry out specific duties to best coordinate an after-school sports template that at the very least, a majority will support. This is important. The program will only work if the vast majority of the school sports leaders, both government and private, buy into it on a huge scale.

Perhaps a national sports forum that will cover several days of canvassing suggestions, concerns and warnings from the sports leaders would be the way to go. From such a platform, Wisdom and the Ministry of Education will be best guided toward a smooth path.

I’ve painted a picture today, not to discourage, but to bring about an awareness of what Wisdom and the ministry face. The after-school sports program is fully supported here, but I think many hours of fact-finding and preparation are essential. It must be determined also whether the program will be operated as a real quasi-government entity or not.

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