Roberts: Ministry Policy Could Force School Out Of Competitions

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By Neto Baptiste

Principal of the successful Ottos Comprehensive School (OCS), Foster Roberts, said constraints placed on schools by the Ministry of Education restricting them from raising funds, may force his institution out of all sports competitions later this year into early next year.

The Ottos Comprehensive School captured both the senior boys’ and girls’ titles while they also went unbeaten in the boys’ under-14 category.

Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Roberts said the success comes with a heavy price tag and that policies by the education ministry has tied the schools’ hands where raising funds are concerned.

“We have four football teams and we have to find four sets of uniforms for the students. Volleyball, we also have four and we have to find four sets, volleyball and netball so when you look at it at the end of the year you are spending close to $40,000 a year just in sports,” he said.

“What I am hoping we will see going forward, is that the Ministry of Sports will engage principals from the beginning, not at the backend but before the season begins where we sit down and engage in some consultations as to how we could move sports in the schools forward. Right now, if things don’t change, I don’t know if Ottos Comprehensive School will be taking part in any event for the 2021 season,” he added.

The principal, who predicts his school will find added success throughout the year in other competitions, said the school titles have brought back a level of pride to the institution, pride he said that had been lost in a cloud of negativity that surrounded the institution many years ago.

“They need to understand that this is really a big thing for Ottos Comprehensive School, and like I said, we create history at Ottos Comprehensive School. It’s four championships, and you cannot just allow four championships in one year to just go like that because it may never happen again, so once it happens, then you have to celebrate it,” he said.

Meanwhile, coach Karen Warner said the school’s success did not come without challenges.

“It wasn’t an easy job, I must say, because the girls alone are a real handful, and then there is always class, or they would say they have to go somewhere to do something for mommy, so sometimes, it’s kind of hard to get them at training but I must say, with Mr. Roberts by my side, I had it very easy,” she said.

The school, with the assistance of a number of corporate citizens, will be erecting billboards to commemorate the team’s championships in 2020.

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