Saturday, June 19, 2021

Task Team recommends payment of school allowances

The Joint Task Team (JTT) on school sports has recommended that the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) must up its ante on school sports.  

In its report, the JTT has made wide-ranging recommendations to ease the burden of financing school sports which has been solely carried by the Ministry of Basic Education (MOBE).

The MOBE allegedly spent thirtyfold its school sports budget on school sports and this resulted with it failing to pay in time.

The issue came to a head this past year as teachers boycotted school sport over unpaid allowances for extracurricular activities, prompting the setting up of the JTT to review school sports.

Among one of its major recommendations, the JTT recommended compensation for the delivery of school sports activities with MYSC directly paying allowances for teachers involved in sports.

The JTT recommends MYSC be responsible for ‘allowances, meals and accommodation for qualified and approved officials, teachers and external coaches that accompany learners to competitions from the 1st stage up to and including the national finals.’   

In the interest of reducing costs however, JTT recommended ‘there should not be any allowances provided to teacher-coaches and/or external coaches for daily athlete training and the delivery of sport-specific programmes in schools.’ 

The coaches should receive their allowances when accompanying learners to competitions. As an incentive, MYSC should provide continuous professional development opportunities. 

However, there is a risk associated with not providing an allowance for those conducting training sessions, with regards to continued motivation, engagement, retention and commitment since they are qualified and trained to deliver the service. 

For Botswana to move forward in positioning sport to professionalism, and to be taken as more than just a past time, the provision of specialized services such as sports coaching should be adequately compensated. 

“Providing quality sports experiences and the core responsibility of identifying and nurturing talent lies with the coach, therefore, appropriate compensation in the form of allowances should be considered,” advised the task team.

Teacher-coaches and other officials accompanying learners to competitions should be required to stay with the learners in the same accommodation facilities and receive a fixed allowance rate that includes accommodation in order to reduce costs.

The delivery of sports activities on behalf of the Botswana Government, by an individual without a declaration of financial gain or commercial benefit has usually been a voluntary community service. 

“Any monetary compensation for the delivery of school sports, where a financial gain nor commercial benefit has not been declared, should be at the same standard rates as other voluntary services across the sports sector. For example, at Botswana Games and National Sport Association activities teachers are involved as volunteers and receive sport volunteer allowances,” the report reads.

They further found that during BNSC and Botswana games activities, conducive accommodation and meals are fully provided, or officials stay at their places of residence. Therefore, sport volunteer allowances are offered and it should be the case with school sports activities. 

“If officials participate in school sports activities where the accommodation facilities are not conducive, they should receive a fixed standard allowance without being costly.”

Terms and conditions of service should be agreed with each individual before their engagement as they are volunteering as individuals.

“A sport volunteer allowance is sustainable and cost-effective compared to committed allowance and over-time allowance for teachers delivering school sport activities. For example, the Ministry of Basic Education was spending an average of P60million annually on over-time/allowances for delivery of school sport activities by teachers. It is worth noting that the budget has been P2million annually, therefore MOBE was significantly spending 300% over the budget.”

In addition, it has been established that implementing committed allowance would be expensive, as it has to cater for all teachers as a profession regardless of whether they are involved in sports or not. 

On the upskilling of teachers’ knowledge, they recommended that ccontinuous pprofessional ddevelopment should be a form of compensation for the delivery of sport activities.

“Capacity building and training opportunities in sport should be accorded and prioritized for those that deliver sport activities and should be part of their training development plans. Delivery of school sports on a voluntary basis should be awarded credits to contribute to the professional licensing of teachers, coaches and officials for long-term sustainability.”

The task team found concluded by recommending for teachers to be recognized for their contribution in developing sport in the country. “Those delivering school sports should be appreciated in various ways, including the provision of awards and recognition at various levels. Consideration should be made to include categories for a) development/grassroots coach of the year, dedication to coaching in sports for people with disabilities, as well as female coach of the year at the Botswana National Sports Awards.

The purpose of the review exercise was to carry out a comprehensive review of sports development and competition in schools. The tasked team was to find out models that are efficient, cost effective, and produces desired results.

The task team committee was 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. They were also to determine appropriate and cost-effective compensation for stakeholders delivering school sports programmes.

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