A Task team to review school sports has advocated for all inclusive, diverse and safe school sport.
The task team was appointed last year by the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) Tumiso Rakgare.
The task team’s objectives were to establish the most holistic approach to child development through sports, determine the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders and entourage in the development of a child through sports. It was also to find the appropriate and cost-effective compensation for stakeholders delivering school sports programmes, establish the most fitting role and responsibility for MYSC, MOBE, Ministry of Local Government and other institutional stakeholders and to recommend an inclusive, diverse and safe school sport environment for children.
The team’s other objective was to carry out a comprehensive review of sports development and competition in schools.
The task team was chaired by Tapiwa Masunga. In advocating for inclusive, diverse and safe school sport they recommended that children living with disabilities should be provided with opportunities to participate in physical activity, sport programmes and competitions.
Masunga’s team directed that “stakeholders should, ensure children with disabilities participate in time-tabled physical activity, have the option of participating in recreational activities, and be provided with opportunities to explore, develop and nurture their potential.”
The sport bodies should facilitate for teachers (including PE teachers) and external coaches to be capacitated and trained to deliver inclusive programmes and provide children with disabilities quality sports experiences.
They are also expected to ensure school sports competition programmes, recreational clubs/activities as well as mass participation activities such as inter-house competitions and festivals include as many events and sports for people with disabilities as possible to accord them the opportunity to experience different sports.
They recommended for the Facilitation for the Paralympic Sport Association of Botswana (PASSOBO), Special Olympics Botswana and National Sport Associations (NSAs) to introduce sports and disciplines in schools for children with disabilities.
Resources for people with disabilities should be provided because they require specific equipment. Funding allocations and pools should be separate, in order to ensure that allocations are not compromised.
Future Safety of the children in sports is expected to be fully addressed by the team’s recommendations.
“Children should play sports in a safe environment. School sports stakeholders should adopt appropriate global standards and operating procedures that protect children, by ensuring that all protocols and policies cater for both the boy-child and the girl child,” they recommended.
Sport organisations are expected to also avail social workers at community level, as well as guidance counsellors at schools and appointing safeguarding liaison personnel as well as SHE officers in schools and on-site during competitions. And establishing an anonymous reporting hotline, case management procedure and an independent structure to deal with any cases that may occur, were some of the recommendations to guarantee safety of children.