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Story Highlights

  • Reports that several student athletes are not performing at the required academic levels for their grades
  • Clubs or persons who detect such instances, to report it to the Ministry
  • Athletes should leave schools with the relevant qualifications

Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, is reminding school administrators not to sacrifice the academic performance of student athletes, as they seek to boost their schools’ reputation in sports.

This is in response to reports that several student athletes are not performing at the required academic levels for their grades.

The Minister said he received information that many of the participants in a recently held schoolboy football camp were unable to read or write, or even if they were able to, they were doing so below the age requirement.

Rev. Thwaites was speaking at a meeting of the Rotary Club of downtown Kingston, held at the Hotel Four Seasons in Kingston, on August 8.

He is encouraging other clubs or persons who detect such instances, to report it to the Ministry, and emphasised  that the student’s academic development is top priority.

“The Ministry of Education does not support the do or die, winning at all cost approach to sports. We insist on a balanced approach with priority given at all times to students’ academic development. And, when the situation arises that students have to miss scheduled classes, schools and sports departments must provide make-up classes for the students affected,” he said.

Rev. Thwaites said this will ensure that athletes are able to leave schools with the relevant qualifications, which will allow them to explore other areas.

The Minister is also urging schools to emphasise the other core values taught through sports, such as honesty, fair play, teamwork, and setting and achieving goals.

Rev. Thwaites informed that the Ministry has met with the relevant sporting authorities and has arrived at several recommendations for the formulation of policy guidelines.

He emphasised there should be no commercial considerations to allow the transfer of students on the basis of prowess in sports.

“We recommend that the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) should re-examine its rules and standards for entry in competitions and that consideration should be given to students who are challenged in one way or another, not only those who are brilliant,” the Minister said.

Rev.  Thwaites said that ISSA should also review its sanctions to deal with violations of its rules, adding that through its financial contribution to schools, the Association should devise a plan to offer additional financial assistance to weaker schools in order to develop their sporting programme.