After a year of uncertainty in school sports, the eyes of the local sporting fraternity will now be on the Botswana Integrated Sports Association (BISA) as they host their Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the end of the month.
The AGM, which comes a year after BISA decided to boycott all sporting activities in schools, is expected to give the local sporting fraternity and its major stakeholder a clear view of where the country’s sport development road is headed.
Speaking in an interview, BISA’s Publicity Secretary, Tebo Segaise, said the main aim of this year’s AGM will be to map a way forward for schools sports.
She says this year’s AGM will be different from others in the past in the sense that while past meetings were convened to evaluate the association’s year activities and calendar, this year will only be used to discuss and plan the way forward for school sporting activities.
“This is mainly due to the fact that BISA has not hosted any sporting activities this year due to the resolution members took at last year’s AGM where they decided not to take part in any school sporting activities,” Segaise said.
On whether the executive committee of BISA has already come up with its own way forward map, the BISA Publicity Secretary said the association’s executive is not powerful enough to take decisions without the affiliates’ consent.
“BISA as an association has no individual teachers as our members, but rather we have schools as our members or affiliates. But then teachers are an integral part of our association as they are the ones who train our student athletes. Now, the problem is that we cannot thus direct them as to what to do as we will be infringing upon their rights. The issue at hand is between an employer and employee and is handled by unions, meaning there is little BISA can do,” Segaise added.
Quizzed on whether the teachers’ boycott of school sports will continue, the BISA Publicity Secretary said everything depends on teachers.
“The resolution taken at last year’s AGM was that teachers will not get involved until something has been put on the table, so it is possible that it may continue, but as I said, the final decision is on teachers,” she said. Commenting on the impact of the ongoing school sport boycott by teachers, Segaise said the impact is very huge and will be even much bigger should the boycott continue. She says the ongoing boycott is creating a sport development vacuum that, if not contained, will be felt in the near future as there will be no athletes to take over when the current crop of the country’s elite athletes retires.
Segaise says the impact has been felt in every government school, including the schools Centres of Sports Excellence which houses the country’s cream of student athletes. She says unless student athletes in Centres of Sports Excellence could have been allowed to join community clubs, the reality will be that they could have gone a year without taking part in competitive sporting activities. Segaise says as BISA, they will continue engaging all the relevant stakeholders, including the Ministry of Education, the workers unions as well as the teachers to find solutions to the ongoing problem.