The Ministry of Local Government will, beginning this week, start engaging in consultations with stakeholders on how to spend the P20 million allocated to it by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture (MYSC). The funds, which have been sourced from the alcohol levy, will be used to support recreation in all primary schools across the country as well as Remote area hostels.
According to the Principal Youth Officer in the ministry, Ms Delic Sehunwe, the funds will be used to upgrade sports fields and procure both outdoor and indoor sports equipment.
Speaking in an interview with The Telegraph, Sehunwe said consultations will help them prioritise the recreational needs faced by the over 700 primary schools in the country as well as the 26 Rural Area Dwellers (RADS) hostels.
The Principal Youth Officer further says as children have the right to recreation, the initiative seeks to address this right while at the same time addressing the issue of grassroots sports development in the country.
Sehunwe says they are working hand in hand with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture as their benefactors to see how best to achieve this, more so as they are also more informed on issues of sports and recreation issues. She says the first consultations will be with district officers and education secretaries who are well aware of the recreational challenges facing primary schools within their jurisdictions.
Sehunwe says they are aware of the acute shortage of recreational facilities, more especially the basic ones like sport fields, which she says is more evident in rural areas.
“We are aware that the recent expansions of classes in schools have taken out sport fields in schools. We are encouraging district officials to find schools other fields with the hope that we can help,” she told The Telegraph.
On the issue of equipment procurement, the Principal Youth Officer says they will be working hand in hand with other stakeholders as well as the ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture on which equipment to buy.
The news will come as a relief, not only for primary schools but also for various sporting codes as they view schools as feeder grounds for talent identification.
Sehunwe says after the first consultations, more consultation phases will follow as they intend to engage teachers as well as parents to ensure they get the complete picture of the needs.