Lack of funding deprives schools of talent

Members of Parliament Portfolio Committee for the Sport and Recreation are Pebane Motena, Solly Malatsi, Darren Bergman, Dudu Manama, Strike Ralegoma, Beauty Dlulane (chairperson), Beverley Abrahams, Bongekile Dlomo and Lulama Ntshayisa. PHOTO: KATLEHO MORAPELA

The Schools’ Sports Mass Participation Programme is to be extended to schools across the Free State. This comes after an indication that limited resources and transformation in sports activities are the two protruding challenges faced by sports participants both at national and provincial level.
Speaking at a ministerial oversight visit to HTS Louis Botha Technical School in Bloemfontein, the chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee for Sport and Recreation, Nomvuzo Dlulane, indicated that sports participants at school level are faced with similar challenges.
Dlulane said there is a high need for financial support at schools and it is time to hold provincial departments accountable for inadequate resources in support of schools. She mentioned that the next step is to work towards developing sports participation and infrastructure at school level, more particularly at disadvantaged schools situated on farms and in rural areas of the province. Dlulane said investing in schools and in young people’s talent is of high importance in sustaining the country’s economy.
“We need to establish sporting platforms for school pupils to enable them to participate at an international level. This means crossing the racial line and encouraging pupils to participate in different sporting activities.”
In support of developing schools in the province and advancing sports as a career, the Chief Director of Sports and Recreation for the Free State Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Kgomotso Tlhakudi, pointed out that the current school curriculum should encompass physical education. Tlhakudi mentioned that with the advancement of programmes such as the Schools’ Sports Mass Participation Programme learners across the province will equally stand a chance of developing sporting careers and representing the province at a national level.
Tlhakudi indicated that only
R630 000 is allocated to assist sports-focused schools in the province, equating to R60 000 per school, which comes short of funding equipment, travelling costs, and sporting clothes. She, however, mentioned that the department is currently assisting various schools with these expenses and strives to achieve more in the near future.
HTS Louis Botha Technical School’s headmaster, Ivan Stevens, says active children perform better in their academics and he encourages all his pupils to participate in sports. He said although financial constraints remain their biggest challenge, the school is currently excelling in athletics, rugby, and soccer. He also hopes the oversight visit of the Parliament’s Portfolio Committee for Sport and Recreation will bring about changes at the school. – Katleho Morapela