Commission Uses School Clusters To Promote Sports
After conducting Kids in Community Sports Programmes in schools, the Fiji National Sports Commission supports initiatives by teachers and parents to organise competitions outside of school hours. During its school visits in the Sabeto’s Ravoravo Cluster in Nadi a month ago, our sports development team urged teachers to support parents in promoting competitions outside of official school hours to promote participation. The Fiji National Sports Commission partnered with Fiji Rugby and Oceania Rugby to organise a Get Into Rugby Festival for Fijian children in the five schools. Competition was open to both boys and girls. The Sabeto Sangam School grounds was a hype of activities as parents and supporters turned out in numbers to support their children playing tag rugby for the first time. The interest shown by the girls was overwhelming. I was fortunate to be part of this programme and witnessed the dazzling running and ball handling skills displayed by students at the festival. 180 boys and 70 girls from Sabeto Sangam, Sabeto Muslim, Sabeto Central, Votualevu Public School and Nadi Arya Amaj School participated in the festival.
I first caught up with Anusha Chand, a Year 5 student at Votualevu Public School.
“This is the first time for me to play in a team sport and I’m so thankful that I had this opportunity,” she said.
Anusha’s mum Roshni Chand was equally excited. “Anusha was up before 6am and was waking everyone up to get ready for the rugby festival”. Anusha’s dad and older sister were there to support Anusha have a go at playing rugby.
Nadi Arya Samaj School Year 7 student, Nikhil Dutt was a very excited young boy who also took part in the festival. Nikhil appears to like physical contact and he says, that Tag Rugby, though not a contact sport in nature will eventually help him become a good rugby player. He also plays other sports including golf and cricket.
Sabeto Central College head boy Nimesh Nihal could not resist the chance to get interviewed. He added that this is the first time for him to play rugby and was so excited. When asked what other sports he would like to play, Nimesh mentioned soccer, volleyball, basketball and tennis as being his favourites.
The Kids in Community Sports Programme of the Fiji National Sports Commission focuses on providing children the opportunity to try out a range of sports through a “give it a go” approach. Opportunities such as the Rugby Festival organised by the Ravoravo Cluster provides opportunities for children like little Anusha the opportunity to participate in not only one sport but a range of sports. In conducting this programme around different parts of Fiji, officers of the sports commission are encouraged to promote this Sabeto concept by engaging the communities and other stakeholders in a community based events that can attract a lot of participation.
Sports development officer West and festival coordinator Josaia Tuinamata was satisfied with the outcome, adding the festival really brought the community together and gave Fijian students an ideal opportunity to participate in a I-Taukei dominated sport.
In an effort to up-skill teachers, the sports commission is currently in dialogue with national sporting organisations to facilitate coaching accreditation programmes for primary school teachers to enable them to train teachers to coach their sports at primary school and community levels. Bringing sports experts to schools through a train the trainer approach is probably the best development the sports commission can facilitate for teachers in remote parts of the country with minimal expense.
Most sports can be modified into mini versions and taught in almost any type of settings throughout the country. There should be no excuse for limited facilities, ground space proper equipment etc as a lot of sports coaching programs highlight the need to be innovative and modify local resources to teach the skills of different sports. The lack of sports knowledge by a lot of our primary school teachers are often the cause of non-facilitation of physical education programs in schools. Imagine if we start empowering our teachers to becoming experts in different sports, school physical education and sports programs would be a lot more fun.
Sabeto Sangam School head teacher and Ravoravo Cluster Leader, Master Muniappa Reddy echoed the same sentiments and agreed of the multi-sport approach to give our children the opportunity to take part and have fun. What was witnessed on the day at the festival testifies to the fact the sport is a powerful community building tool that if planned well, could make an impact on the lives of our young people. Ravoravo Cluster is a vibrant cluster which is quite active in activities organised by schools in the Nadi area.
Running Kids in Community Sports Programmt in schools in the interior of Namosi two weeks ago, teachers of the schools supported the need to be up-skilled and accredited in different sports. Head teacher of Nakavika Primary School was very positive and getting teachers trained to coach different sports. “This would really motivate teachers to take a positive interest in sport”, he added. The schools visited by the sports commission included; Wainimakutu Primary School, Naqarawai SDA School, Navunikabi Catholic School, St Peters Primary School, Nakavika Primary School and Wainiyavu Primary School.
The commission encourages teachers in school clusters who are interested in the concept to contact the commission on 9388401 or email sports development manager on email@example.com on how the commission can assist in their sports programs. Until next week, “HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE”