I REFER to the letter “School sports need urgent help” (The Star, Nov 20) by Jayaraj K.G.S.
Hopefully, this explanation will allay his fears and concerns that schools are not churning out athletes of calibre or are being forced to do sports that they have no interest in, as well as misunderstandings about the 1M1S (Satu Murid Satu Sukan) programme.
Prior to the launch of the 1M1S policy in 2011, the Education Ministry had already implemented the co-curricular policy where every school-going child had to be involved in one co-academic society, one uniformed body and one sports club.
The 1M1S policy was implemented to give more emphasis on sports activities in schools as well as to bring back the glory of sports. Nowhere in the 1M1S policy does it state that a child must only do one sport.
The policy states that every child must do at least one sport. They are free to participate in more than one if they desire to do so.
I am also nostalgic about the good old days but the reality is that we can never go back to the good old days.
In this highly sophisticated technology driven era, the demands on the time and attention of students are very different.
In the education field, it is almost imperative to get a good education for a secure adult life.
In the field of sports for excellence, research shows an athlete needs at least 10,000 hours of training before he has the range of skills and fitness level to compete against the best in the world.
The question that begs to be answered is whether we want to be ‘A Jack of all trades” or “ A Master of One’.
Malaysia has a National Sports Policy that focuses on sports for excellence as well as sports for the masses.
Similarly the Education Ministry also ensures all schools do sports for the masses, through the 1M1S programme while pursuing excellence in sports through the Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSC) activities, district training centres, state sports schools, as well as collaboration with national sports associations and the National Sports Council.
Lengthy and in-depth deliberations were held before the sporting calendar was finalised, taking into account the overall needs of the students and how well they can cope with the demands on their time.
With regard to the current system not producing world class athletes, I would like to say that it is not a fair statement as about 95% of all national athletes started their career in sports in school.
Approximately 60% of all gold medalists in Sukma are school-going children. About 75%-80% of national athletes in many sports came through the Malaysian Sports School system.
Among them are Kannathasan, Nauraj, Navin, Cassier Renee, Norshahidatun Nadia (track and field); Welson Sim, Tern Jian Hern (swimming); Azizul Hasni Awang, Rizal Tisin (cycling); Yeoh Ken Nee, Leong Mun Yee, Pandelela Rinong and Nur Dabitah Sabri (diving).
The are more from other sports like wushu, squash, football, hockey and badminton who have all come through the Malaysian sports school system.
Every year, the MSSC activities involve thousands of students in more than 24 different sports at different levels where many new stars are born and many records are broken.
The crème de la crème are selected to represent Malaysia in various international school tournaments as part of their preparation for the world stage later.
It cannot be denied that schools play an integral part in producing national sportsmen and sportswomen, be it in the good old days or in this modern age.
I urge all teachers to make an effort to fully comprehend all policies of the Education Ministry and implement them in the best way possible. In fact, teachers who feel the heat can do a lot to bring back the glory of sports.
It is not true that they are unable to do anything about it. There are so many things they can do to ensure children participate actively in sports.
They should ensure that sports activities are conducted regularly. Conduct sports training for students, organise competitions at school level, create opportunities and encourage students to participate in various competitions.
Please visit our website www.moe.gov.my/bsukan and send us your comments or suggestions to improve sports in school.
EE HONG Director, Sports Division (School Sector) Education Ministry The STAR Online Home News Opinion 23/11/2013