There is a dire need to have a serious review of the organisation of competitive schoolboy soccer following the unusual issues which have brought some levels of discourse. I am directly speaking about the problems of some schools which have broken the rules of different kinds, such as ignoring failing grades, changing school certificates and even allowing illegal transfers, all to allow certain players on their team.
This type of enquiry was never available in years gone by, as incidents of any dubious nature were always clearly dealt with by the school principal and supportive teachers.
Over the years, a number of schools have turned their heads away from the fundamental reason why these children had to be taken through a series of examinations before they could be eligible to enter these institutions.
Many students may have shown some level of skill in a sport or two, especially student footballers , and some succeeded in gaining entry into the state-owned community schools for their five-year stint.
There is though the concern of students not studying their school work, but being allowed to represent their schools in sporting activities.
Some students who passed for government secondary schools possibly fall into the category, where their motor skills and love for sport are recognised quite easily. However, few in the institutions took an interest in these children as far as their lessons were concerned as they moved through the various forms one to five.
My request to parents in this position, is ask questions about your child’s development in their chosen sport in the midst of the vital education which they are pursuing.
It is my sincere hope that the present Minister of Education, a lover of sport himself and one who has demonstrated a great interest in ensuring that both academics and sport can be intertwined by good school management, will help enforce or introduce the regulations prevalent in similar situations in the more advanced countries. For example, state schools in the USA pay great attention to students who enjoy sports, and ensure they can multitask so they do not lose the opportunity.
I wish that I had more time and space to expose some of the fine solutions which are possible, solutions that could be beneficial to our secondary school system. I shall try in another column when the confusion in the Secondary Schools Football League has subsided.