Sunday, April 4, 2010

There's more than the eye meets

The idea to finally place emphasis on sports in schools after all these years of neglect is great.
The announcement by Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin of one student, one sport policy, sports being compulsory in schools, funds sports and facilities for schools,  training and retraining sports teachers, increase number periods for sports in schools, credit points for students who excel in sports for entry to universities and sports being a integral part of nation building, all sounds great.
However, one wonders if the Deputy Prime Minister really knows that actual situation at the schools and if his Director of Educations in the States and officers have given him a clear picture of the situation on the ground.
Ideas are great, but do they have the means to implement them and is it is any easy task as it sounds.
The New Sunday Times today had a front-paged story and two page focus on the actual situation on the ground.
Read the stories here - School sports rot and reports - Are We Ready - and Proper coaches and facilities needed. 
But this is just the tip of the inceberg.
The problem is much more deep and extensive - no thanks of the neglect of sports in schools over the year and now suddenly want to everything right by a wave of a wand!
It is is going to take as many years as we ended up in this rot to get things right.
The biggest question is that do we have the patience and commitment to see it through to put schools sports back in track or it will take backseat the moment the heat is off or there is a change of Minister?
Just take a drive around the city and visit the schools. Many do not have a proper playing field. Those who are lucky to have, may just have a small plot of the field left - no thanks to development, or have a field which is in deplorable conditions. 
Then, we will see some school fields being used as car parks by the teachers!
We still hear of schools sports being held on a badminton courts!
Yes, there is a great deal of work to be done to get things right again.
Then again will it happen or someone contractor is going to make money by supplying cheap material and build shoddy facilities or lay poor grounds!
Have we not heard of so many schools built, only not to receive the CF or being closed after cracks are found in the schools after a few months!
Even if everything goes well and the best facilities are put up, has anyone thought of funds for maintainence?
Many facilities and grounds have been built and laid, but because there is no budget for maintenance cost, the facilities and grounds become deplorable in no time.
It is a mammoth task ahead and the Education Minister alone cannot put it right.
It takes the concerted effort of Education Ministry Directors, officers, State Education Directors and their officers, all school heads, teachers, students and parents to make it right.
Let us not forget that we not just talking about Kuala Lumpur or Selangor, but the length and breath of Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak! There are some 10,000 schools!
It certainly cannot be achieved overnight and perseverance will be the key word here.
Do we all have it to realise the ultimate goals or is it just going to be lip service or all talk and no action?
Forgive me for being pessimistic, but I personally feel that it is very unlikely that for all the damage that has been done, it is going to be impossible to put it right again.
Unless of course, we strive at it over years without deviating from our objectives for a second, we may put things right again maybe after a modest 5 years!
Are we all prepared to do that?


Anonymous said...

Writing for the sake of writing. Nothing much has changed. You have been in the sport scene for as long as I can remember. Why have you not been highlighting this issue? The convenience and deliberate act of building schools without proper school fields or replacing existing fields with computer labs or new classrooms have been going on right under the Education Ministry's nose since 1980s. Why wasn't this highlighted? One thing I totally agree with you is the damage has been done and it will take a generation (God willing)to correct this misdeed on the children.
Your article is nothing but a knee jerk reaction to the Minister's rhetoric.

TonyMariadass said...

Anon, I don't know if you have got the right guy. You are right about remembering me of being in the sports scene as long as you can remember. But you are totally wrong that I have not been highlight issues related schools sports, the lack of playing fields, fields turned in buildings in the name of development and any woes the schools have been facing. Knee jerk reaction? You must be kidding! I have taken to task Ministers, sports officials, headmasters, teachers and PTAs on many occasions. The only problem is the powers to be, turn a deaf ear and are blinded to woes in schools.
At least I have done my part to raise and highlights the woes. What have you done Anon. And who are you? Why don't you reveal yourself, so the readers can be the judge as to who has done something about the issues at hand. The very fact that you are hiding behind anon, clearly underlines that you are among the lot who have a lot to say and criticise, but does not have the courage or be man enough, to stand by comments with a true identity. So either you stand up and be counted, or remain a coward who would throw stones at others and run and hide! Thank you for your comments anyway.

Zainal Hashim said...

Tony, how i agree with you on this. Many potshots had been targetted at me and brickbrats thrown at me just because I champion for school sports and Malaysian Sports Future.

Anon come join me at Facebook's group Save Malaysian School Sports and Malaysian Sports future and also my blog http//

if you really care as much as you say in your writtings laaah!

Tony take care in New Delhi!