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Africa-Press – Botswana. Brought to a grinding halt at the start of 2020 due to spiraling administration costs, school sports looks set to return in January.

This was the welcome feedback given by Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Chairman, Marumo Morule at the governing body’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Gaborone on Wednesday.

Morule revealed they were close to finalizing a working-model to get government school students back on the playing grounds and participating in sport again.

Previously run by the Ministry of Basic Education (MOBE), this time BNSC will assume direct control.

“We acknowledge the importance of extra-curricular activities in schools. Sport has proven to be a key to the overall development of our young people and in certain instances to also contribute to better results, leadership and other qualities as well as attendance of school by learners,” he said.

MOBE’s financial limitations saw sport in school shown the red card just before the first term in 2020. The Ministry had set aside a P2 million budget for sporting activities but costs, predominantly teachers participation fees, had risen to a staggering P60 million.

Teachers were paid P32 million in arrears accumulated the previous year and sport in school was stopped.

Back then, a joint Task Team assembled by MOBE and Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture (MYSC) was established to find solutions on how to best run school sports.

Three years later and finally there is hope on the near horizon.

Although resuscitation efforts failed for 2022, a series of consultations between MYSC, Ministry of Education and Skills Development, Ministry of Local Government, BNSC and various trade unions took place over the last few months.

“During this year part of the P24 million that was previously set aside for school sport has been reallocated to other equally important projects,” added Morule.

In the past, the emergence of star athletes like 400m runners, Baboloki Thebe and Karabo Sibanda has been attributed to the success of school sports as the duo grow up in Centre of Excellence at Good Hope Senior School.

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