The Minister of Youth, Gender, Sport, and Culture, Tumiso Rakgare, has hinted at the possibility of the return of school sports, expressing confidence that soon, school sports will return although in a different model.
Giving a keynote address at the University of Botswana (UB) Sports Development Meet and Marathon launch, Rakgare said sports grassroots development is critical to good performance at national levels. He urged UB to utilise its state-of-the-art facilities like the Campus indoor sports centre to produce quality athletes.
“With schools playing a pivotal role in sports development, it is not in dispute that Physical Education teachers are essential at grassroot level,” he said.
According to the Minister, after receiving the Task Force report that assessed school sports, it is vital that it returns and that may be anytime soon. “We hope that school sports will be back at government schools, up and running,” said Rakgare.
He stated that government has made it clear that it can no longer continue running school sports with just teachers. The minister added that in the new model, teachers will be assisted by experts and community volunteers. ‘’It is important to develop our athletes from grassroots. We need to work hard at grassroot level,’’ stated Rakgare.
Rakgare further spoke at length on the need for schools to remain key to sports development. He added that sport is a developmental tool which can be employed at national level to generate income. Moreover, the minister said sport enhances people with soft skills. To this end, he commended UB for offering sport science course with world class facilities.
University of Botswana Sports officer, Justice Dipeba said school sports is important because it has been helping with identification of talent. He explained that a lot of Botswana athletes were discovered through the school sport.
In this regard, he noted that without school sports the country will suffer. According to Dibepa, a renowned award-winning athletics coach, there is a need to fill gaps which are being left by the likes of Isaac Makwala and Amantle Montsho who have reached retirement period. “They all went through the school sport structure. I was very happy and glad to hear the minister school sports will be back very soon because without school sports really, we won’t go very far, we will find ourselves going back, without athletes that are able to match the world,” outlined Dipeba.
The Secretary General at Botswana Sector of Educators Trade Union (BOSETU) Tobokani Rari, said pending issues that halted school sports have not been dealt with. He noted that as unions, they are ready to engage on behalf of their members and remain open for engagements in a candid atmosphere. “However, we will not tolerate unilateralism, and exploitation of our members,” he highlighted.