Fayval Williams bats for increased investment in school sports
Despite the prevailing belief that academics should take precedence in schools, Minister of Education, Youth and Information Fayval Williams is batting for increased investment in high schools sporting programmes with a view to sustain Jamaica’s global status in sports.
High schools have always been actively involved in sporting competitions. However, there has been a noticeable surge in the development of these programmes, particularly with events like the ISSA-run Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships and the Under-19 schoolboy competitions. These events have attracted significant sponsorship and television rights business, amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars in the last two decades.
The ongoing discussions regarding academics versus sports have sparked several debates, but Williams told the Jamaica Observer that the ministry has been actively working towards integrating sports as an essential component of students’ overall development.
“We encourage it, that’s why if you look across all our schools, they have on the timetable physically education and obviously as the students mature, they will, inevitably, gravitate towards the sport in which they have talent. Yes, we want a balance. It’s not every time about academic but the student as a whole being and all the talent and potential that the student bring to the table,” she said.
Over the last month, Williams has been in attendance at the final of the Manning Cup and Olivier Shield at the National Stadium and the Urban Area Senior and Junior Netball Final at the Leila Robinson Courts.
While asserting that the ministry has been helping to fund sporting programmes in schools, she is urging others to come forward financially.
“I know we get excited over sports but it’s an expensive endeavour. To the extent that our budget allow, for us to be able to assist schools with their sporting activities, we do and that’s why I’ll continue to emphasise sponsorship. We know sports is an expensive endeavour across schools and I know that there are many sponsors and I really want to thank all of our sponsors who come forward at the different schools who sponsor sports education,” Williams said.
“Schools need buses to transport the team, they need gears, nutrition, all kinds of things. So for sports to continue to flourish in Jamaica, this has to be an all Jamaica approach in terms of time, effort and funding so we continue to encourage sponsorship even as we at the ministry ensure that there is some allocation for sports and physical education in our schools,” she added.
Minister Williams recently met South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Sports Nocawe Mafu as part of a Programme of Cooperation Agreement in several areas of sports between Jamaica and South Africa which ends on December 31, 2025.