Going back to school

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

The Gauteng provincial government is embarking on a development programme aimed at reviving the culture of school sports.

Gauteng has put aside R16,2 million for school sport mass participation projects across the province.

This is in response to the gradual death of school sports, which has a negative effect on the quality of sportsmen and women feeding various national teams.

In the past schools were a happy hunting ground for clubs and provincial teams scouting for fresh talent.

Barbara Creecy, the Gauteng MEC for sports, arts, culture and recreation, said they were delighted that the plans to revive the Wednesday sports days were on track.

"In response to a lack of participation by learners in sports, this programme was created to rekindle the culture of school sports and the Wednesday leagues."

Creecy said more than 300 schools will take part in a pilot project that will later spread throughout the province, with all the schools coming on board.

The government project is starting with eight sporting codes - soccer, athletics, netball, cricket, rugby, chess, volley and baseball.

"In each of the schools, the department employs a school sport assistant who ensures that the eight identified sporting codes are implemented," MEC Creecy said.

"Seven district school sport coordinators across the province are also employed to monitor and manage the schools within clusters."

The department will also buy equipment and kits for the participants, provide technical expertise in the identified codes and coordinate the weekly league fixtures.

Softball, which is one of the most popular codes in the province where it is played both in the suburbs and townships, has not been considered for the pilot project.