Executive Director of the Jamaica Diaspora Institute and Professor (Hon) of Educational Measurement, Neville Ying, says that for G.C. Foster College to achieve its full potential, it must become more integrally involved in sport as a creative industry.
Professor Neville Ying
Professor Ying, who previously served on a University Council of Jamaica (UCJ) team which evaluated the college and the quality of its programmes, said that while the quality of the programme remains good, infrastructural development still needed serious attention.
He was giving the keynote address at the annual graduation ceremony of the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport at the campus, St. Catherine, on Sunday (December 5).
Speaking on the theme, “Honouring our Legacy: Charting the Future”, Professor Ying said that the college’s track, swimming pool, basketball and netball courts have to be at world class standards for it to have the brand and reputation which it is striving to achieve.
He said, however, that achieving those standards was centred on one word – money; and the burning question was how the college can find funds to develop infrastructure, and transform its educational programmes to become a global competitor as an educational institution for physical education and sport.
“My recommendation is that the institution will have to change its paradigm from thinking of itself as just another tertiary level education institution, but as an organisation that is an integral part of the creative industries,” he said.
He stated that, as Jamaica seeks to recover from the global recession, it is becoming clearer each day that it is its creative and innovative products and services that will be critical in moving the country out of the crisis.
“The creative industries including sports, music, entertainment, film and fashion will, therefore, be an important part of the economic transformation of Jamaica. Sport is a significant part of the creative industries. G.C. Foster must have a special space in this industry,” he said.
He suggested the first step be solidifying the impact of the college on the development of the country’s sports stars, through the provision of coaches and physical education teachers, especially for high schools.
“G.C. Foster should capitalise on the contribution of the coaches, trained at the college, who prepare the teams for Boys and Girls Champs, which have been recognised as the best organised and impactful track and field meet at this level, worldwide,” he suggested.
He added that the college should leverage its fundamental contribution to Boys and Girls Champs, by negotiating with ISSA and the sponsors of the annual event for a part of the sponsorship for the meets to be contributed to G.C. Foster.
He said that a second step should be to have a specialised programme for providing coaches for the national teams, another area where the college could seek sponsorship funds; and as a third step, repositioning the college as an institution of choice in the collegiate system in Jamaica, to absorb sport talents from high school competitions.
“It must be the driving force in building an inter-collegiate sports system,” Professor Ying said, noting that, in this way, the college could seek funding to develop its sporting infrastructure to the level where it can attract both sponsorship and income from television rights.
He cautioned, however, that these approaches will require some refocusing of the energies of the institution, to areas such as sports marketing and sports as a business.
Guests at the function were welcomed by chairman of the school board, Silvera Castro. The Principal’s Report was read by Edward Shakes. The Valedictorian Address was given by Carol Hibbert, while Miguel Howe, Deborah Peart-Johnson, Carol Hibbert and Naomi Vassell were named Outstanding Students.