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  • The Ministry of Education has developed a policy framework for the transfer of student athletes between schools.
  • The framework was developed in association with the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA).
  • The Ministry of Education and ISSA will develop and apply appropriate sanctions to schools deemed in breach of the rules governing the transfer of student athletes.

The Ministry of Education has developed a policy framework for the transfer of student athletes between schools.

This is aimed at stamping out the unethical practice of some high schools recruiting students primarily for sporting activities, without due consideration for their academic development.

The framework was developed in association with the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA).

In a statement to the House of Representatives on February 24, Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, explained that the policy outlines the conditions under which transfers will be approved, as well as sanctions for schools or students found to be engaged in athlete buying.

“The primary goal of a school is the formal education of students. This involves the development of their knowledge, understanding, and skills to enable them to maximise their potential in further educational pursuits or acquiring gainful employment,” he said.

Outlining the framework, Rev. Thwaites said the transfer of a student for any reason must follow the normal procedures, as determined by the Education Regulation (28).

He noted that Principals of both sending and receiving schools, along with the parent, must sign consent forms before presentation to the Ministry for approval of the request to transfer a student.

“In considering the request for transfer of a student athlete, the Ministry of Education will review the student’s academic record to determine if he/she is able to cope with the curriculum of the receiving school. Where necessary, before granting approval, the Ministry will ensure that adequate arrangements are put in place to facilitate the academic advancement of the student athlete in the receiving school,” Rev. Thwaites said.

The Minister stressed that the transfer of students between schools must not involve economic gain to the student, parent or guardian, adding that scholarship proceeds must approximate the cost of providing and accessing the child’s education and not result in profiteering.

“Students’ academic advancement must not be compromised by their involvement in sports or any other co-curricular activity. Schools must comply with the current ISSA requirement that a student must attain an 80-per cent attendance record and a minimum grade of 45 per cent in four subjects during the preceding term to be eligible to participate in an ISSA event,” Rev. Thwaites said.

However, exceptions are allowed under circumstances where a student who completes Fifth Form in a member school that does not have a Sixth Form and transfers to another in order to undertake Sixth Form work leading to an external examination.

The Minister also informed that exceptions are facilitated when a student who fails to be accepted to Sixth Form in his/her own school is accepted to the Sixth Form of another and a student who, after mutual agreement between both Principals, transfers to the Sixth Form of another.

“Students meeting the foregoing criteria shall be eligible for Sixth Form, provided that they have attained passes (Grades 1-3) in a minimum of four subjects at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) level,” Rev. Thwaites said.

The Ministry of Education and ISSA will develop and apply appropriate sanctions to schools deemed in breach of the rules governing the transfer of student athletes.

He further noted that ISSA will establish a clearing house by August 1, 2015 where all transferred student/athletes must be approved/cleared before participation in ISSA activities.

The clearing house, Rev. Thwaites said, will examine all documentation related to a transferred student athlete and investigate any discrepancies reported or identified.

“These measures are intended to promote fairness and sportsmanlike attributes among competing athletes and also among school administrators,” he added.