By Neto Baptiste
Principal of the Princess Margaret School (PMS) and a known advocate for sports within the educational system, Dr Colin Greene, believes the Ministry of Sports continues to err by ignoring calls for more involvement in the organising and running of school competitions by himself and others like him.
According to Greene, whose school has dominated at the Coca Cola Schools Track & Field Championships for the past decade while also winning several basketball and football titles, said the powers that be continues to ignore the need for input from their main stakeholders.
“Even over this Covid period, no one has reached out to us to say, ‘now, in this downtime, let’s start to plan and talk’. In fact, I thought a sub-committee could have been formed a long time ago. Whether it is from amongst secondary principals — one from private, one from public, the involvement of the technical people from the Ministry of Sports — so it’s a broad-based committee,” he said.
“The committee would have to be a standing committee and not an ad hoc committee, so it’s just like you have a board of education so that has to be a standing committee so when one programme is finished then you start planning the other,” he added.
The call for involvement by Greene is not a new one and comes at a time when there is much uncertainty as to when school competitions will return after they were halted in 2020 due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
The principal assured that involving schools and teachers on an organizational level could bring added benefits to the various schools competitions.
“Teaching is one of those things that is a catalyst. It has all sorts of skillsets in teaching and we have a mentality that we don’t work for money, we work for free; teachers don’t know how to charge nobody nothing. If you are looking for statisticians, for IT people, PE people, a physiotherapist, all of that can be found. If you are looking for people with management degrees and skillsets and people who know about marketing, then it is in the schools and I just think that the Ministry of Sports has never really reached out in a meaningful way for a formal integration,” Greene said.
According to the animated principal, however, there is no need to reinvent the wheel as there are many proven ways of getting the job done.
“Now, you don’t have to start from scratch; just look at the models that are successful in sports and there is no model that is successful in sports without major involvement with schools. Schools are the foundation, the base, so if you look at the Jamaican system, the strength of the programme comes through the schools and no matter how brilliant you are in Jamaica in terms of academics, if your school is not producing sports people then you are just a school. The involvement of the principals at that level is a very important thing,” he said.
Currently, schools competitions are planned and executed by the Ministry of Sports with major input from the various coordinators.
There has been no schools track & field championships for four years now due to what was the unusable state of the track at the YASCO Sports Complex. The recent laying of a new Mondo surface has however brought with it hopes that the once anticipated annual event will return in 2022.