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Without sport, I would be in prison – Nijel

Olympic silver medallist and multiple winner of the 800M race, Nijel Amos, has joined the bandwagon in dismissing cabinet’s decision to halt sports activities in primary and secondary schools.

The 800m indomitable runner is one proud product who was groomed through the school sport activities.Of late, the Ministry of Basic Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development has struggled to find a working solution as teachers downed tools following government’s failure to pay them their dues.

The teachers who play a pivotal role in nurturing talent like that of Amos have long wanted to be incentivised for the hard work they do, especially after their designated working hours.  The government was seen to be procrastinating the matter until the situation turned volatile.Amos took to social media and made his feelings known.“Without an after school sports program, I am 75 percent sure I would have ended up in prison,” he said on his Facebook page.

“School sports created a sense of belonging and it improved my also provided academic support as I had a place to recharge and made learning more fun. It further builds my confidence.”So far Amos appears to be one of the athletes heavily disturbed by the decision. The move by the government mirrors a tomorrow that may never come. In Amos eyes, school sport is everything a child needs.

“I found it to be a platform that allowed everyone to feel free and naturally showcase their talent and grow as an individual,” he concluded.The Minister of Basic Education Fidelis Molao announced the immediate suspension of competitive sports in schools for this year (2020) in Ghanzi recently. The Minister said the sports activities harm the government purse because the costs are unsustainable and unbearable.

The Minister said the decision was taken due to high participation fees against the fewer amounts allocated for sports.In a savingram Government said, “The Ministry has been struggling to pay participation fees as its budget for sports remains at P2 million a year against an annual cost of about P 60 million.”It further reads, “So far the Ministry has had to vire funds from its training and feeding votes to pay for teachers’ participation in athletics in 2019.

However, the Ministry has asked teachers to exercise patience as the government has started engaging its relevant stake holders and other ministries to thoroughly define roles so as to find a lasting solution to this taxing matter.  It was reported that in the past years, the Ministry of Basic Education was forced to use money designated for training of staff and feeding of learners to pay for the high costs. The priority this year is to pay teachers’ debt of P 32 million arising from 2019.

However, the Minister encouraged sports enthusiasts like teachers to conduct sports within the boundaries of their schools during working hours.



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