Thursday, September 13, 2012
OVER the last couple of months, our nation has been full of praise for our athletes and their achievements at the Olympics and Paralympics. This led to talk of achieving greater success at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
However, the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025, which was unveiled yesterday, appears to have sidelined sports, as though it is not important at all.
What was emphasised, again, was academic achievement.
Teachers, especially senior ones, are stepping away from participation in sports as it is becoming a burden to them.
Why? Because they have far too many issues to deal with, such as getting low performance assessments, being transferred to other schools without asking for it, being pushed to the afternoon session and receiving complaint letters from parents, all because they are frequently not in class.
In addition, when these teachers are invited by national and state sports bodies to attend meets and courses, they are refused permission by schools heads, although there is the provision of 30-day no-record leave for such purposes. The irony is the Education Ministry is asking teachers to upgrade their knowledge and skills, while school heads frown upon such things.
Teachers are also forced to use their own money to cover travelling expenses for themselves and the students when attending sports meets, as schools usually claim that they either have not received the annual grant or that it has been exhausted.
For Malaysia to move forward in sports, the ministry and the Public Service Department must consider creating the post of sports teacher in schools.
The argument that this post cannot be created because teachers must be in the classroom is irrelevant as school counsellors are exempted from teaching or even replacing an absent teacher.
If such an exemption can be awarded to counsellors, why can’t it be given to sports teachers?
Having sports teachers will ensure that other teachers do not have to abandon their classes, students can be trained and prepared better for inter-school meets, and year-round sports activities can be conducted, all of which are in line with the 1 Murid 1 Sukan policy, encouraging students to be active in at least one sport.
Schools are responsible for producing the next line of sporting heroes for our country, not national or state sports associations.
It is high time the sports division under the ministry came up with ways to transform sports in schools to achieve the nation’s ambition of producing more Olympic champions.
It is not enough for schools to produce perfect sports reports.
The situation on the ground leaves much to be desired.