Rwanda: What Do Schools Expect From the New Sports Policy?

While Rwanda continues to struggle with poor performances in some international tournaments in different sports disciplines, the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Education have partnered to implement a comprehensive sports policy in schools in order to boost the discovery and production of talent in different sports disciplines.

The implementation of the new policy, which was approved by a Cabinet meeting in July last year, will according to the Ministry of Sports, start this year.

A number of schools that Times Sport spoke to, expect that the policy will contribute to discovering, nurturing, developing as well as create a platform for homegrown talents to shine and improve the country's performances in sports at international level, if exploited well.

Samuel Nkurunziza, the headteacher of Kagarama Secondary School, claimed that there is a lot of talent in schools that are going to waste because they are never given a chance to show what their talent can deliver.

He said the policy should look at ways those talents are brought on board, trained and developed, or given other mentorship programs so that they can grow in a competitive environment.

"To be honest, it hurts to see talented children lacking mentorship and the platform to grow their talents. We need well-trained coaches to help our schools detect talents because there are many in schools but have no one to follow up," said Nkurunziza.

Meanwhile, some schools have started to wonder how the policy will succeed while they don't have facilities for students to do sports.

Jean Bosco Nsanzimana, the headteacher of Groupe Scolaire Nyaruguru, said the new sports policy should look at the way facilities are availed in schools.

"We have a serious problem of inadequate sports facilities because the school has a very small plot of land. You can imagine that our school, for instance, doesn't have any single playground to the extent that we are forced to borrow a football playground when our team is preparing for tournaments," he said.

According to different school Administrations, Sports as a lesson is given little time and some schools claim that students are not given enough time and platform to show their talents because policymakers didn't include that platform while designing the school curriculum.

"In my opinion, the problem started with the policymakers because if you are giving sports just one hour in a weekly timetable how do you think talents will be unearthed?" said a school official.

Meanwhile, Nsanzimana said that policymakers should implement the policy on condition that it doesn't interrupt students' education, suggesting that, under the policy, schools should organize well-coordinated sports activities regularly, especially over the weekends to give students enough time to make the best out of their talents.

When asked to comment on the new policy, some students said that the policy will only succeed if implementers have thought of a talent development framework for students who are talented not just in towns but also in villages.

"I think there should be a strategy that does not target just students from the towns because there are talents out there in rural areas that are going to waste. The policy should be implemented equally in urban and rural areas and project long-term solutions for the development of sports in the country," said Kenneth Ishimwe, a student from Lycée de Kigali.


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