The popularity of sports and athletics in schools is dwindling. The interest is no longer the same as some years back when there were no cell phones and so many gadgets which student find comfort to when wanting entertainment Sekwane Ratau, a maths teacher at Bokamoso secondary school in Tembisa, who is Ekhuruleni North District Committee member for high schools and athletic and also a soccer coach at Bokamoso has been involved in school sports and athletics since 1997.
“I am passionate about Sports and athletics – especially at schools as I understand the significance and the positive impact these activities can have on learners” says Ratau.
Ratau says he is concerned that students are slowly losing interest in their large numbers and says the major contributing factor for this is lack of sporting.“We lack facilities such as sports field and changing rooms. Our hope is that, because we understand that the department has financial constraints, the department can build us a central sports field (even if it is artificial ground) that can be used and be shared amongst at least three schools within that area.”
“Lack of facilities also creates unfair competition because we are required to compete with other schools in town that are well resourced” elaborates Ratau.
Ratua says the benefits of students who are involved in these activities are also visible in class through the manner in which they carry themselves.
“Sports instils discipline, teachers student to work in a team, it teachers them to take responsibility of their own mistakes. So they can apply this team work skills when they are given a task to perform in class”
He says sports helps them as educators to get to know student better because when they interact with them during sports activities “they are able to open up to us on issues which otherwise they wouldn’t talk about if there were no platforms like this.”
“We get to know these kids on a personal level; they are even able to open up to us on personal issues “says Ratau
The Life Orientation teacher hope the department can find a way to encourage teachers to revive Sports Wednesdays and that the improvement in infrastructure would serve as a great source of encouragement to learners.
“It is our responsibility as educators to nature the talents these learners have because not everyone will make it in class.”
“ If we do so those who are struggling in class are able to make a career out of their talents, failure to do so will end in these students roaming the streets engaging in unsafe sexual activities. They might even loose interest for school altogether because the one thing that kept them at school in no longer available,” concludes Ratau.