Kitende leaves no room for Schools not to award Sports Bursaries

Kitende leaves no room for Schools not to award Sports Bursaries

By Jjagwe Robert


One thing that our Athletes find very difficult to do is to balance their Sporting Careers with Academics. Uganda’s Academic Calendars and Schooling Time Tables do not favor Sports because they do not allow our Athletes to have enough time to do effective training to grow their Talents. Athletes that dedicate time to the Academics usually see their Sporting Talent decline and in the same way any Athlete that devotes more time to grow their Talent will usually experience poor Academic Performance.

Some Schools, including the powerful ones like St. Mary’s Kitende (of Dr. Lawrence Mulindwa) correctly identified this challenge and are offering Free Education or Bursaries to talented Athletes in various sports disciplines. Kitende in particular gives other schools a huge challenge because not only does it excel in Sports but also in Academics. In terms of excellent academic performance the flag can correctly be given to Kitende to carry on behalf of other Schools in Uganda.

St Marys Kitende girls after winning the Novice Rally title

This presents the other schools with absolutely no excuse for not awarding Bursaries to high performing Athletes of our Nation. Kitende actually disproves the thinking that Sports can harm a student’s Academic career. I want to take this opportunity to challenge the Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES) to undertake good research on how exactly Kitende does this and then the model can be replicated in other Schools that continue to fear to engage very actively in Sports.

A very challenging statistic in Uganda today is that almost all employment sectors are saturated and can no longer absorb most of the youths yearning for jobs. Some parents have indeed resorted to grooming their children for Sporting Careers. We even now have parents who no longer want to take their children to schools that do not take Sports seriously. Their stand is both amplified and well supported by the fact that Sports Men and Ladies are some of the richest people in the world today.

St Marys Kitende Director Lawrance Mulindwa happy after seeing his boys winning

Article 46 of the new Sports Act of Uganda now requires all schools to offer no less than 15 sporting disciplines to their Students. The overall sum of the above observations is that both by reality and law, schools now have to take Sports seriously and they have to offer Sports to their learners. This is no longer at their discretion as it is now by Law.

Some schools are probably not aware that they can advertise themselves affordably using their sporting excellence even where academic excellence has failed to work for them. Also key to note nowadays is the fact that even if a child excels well in academics, they can still fail to make it big in life as they lack other social skills that can be acquired through activities like Sports.

I can say confidently that with the exception of majorly science based professions like Doctors, Engineers, Pharmacists, Technologists, etc. few other professions can give a learner success in the employment world without other skills like social networking, learning how to win or lose peacefully, learning to pick oneself up after a loss, Etc. A field like Sports comes in very handy to impart these other skills.
In the end, the schools that are taking Sports seriously are helping our country a lot to deal with the all-round development of our learners as well as imparting in them vital skills needed for life after school. Mt. St. Mary’s Kitende also leaves no room for any school in Uganda to hide under the cover of Academic Excellence to deny Ugandan Learners the chance to explore their potential in other very lucrative areas like Sports.
All schools offering Bursaries deserve to be commended and I also wish to suggest that at the Annual Sports Awards Ceremony, our National Council of Sports (NCS) starts to award the best schools giving Study scholarships or Bursaries to our talented Athletes. I also pray that such Awards can be given together with other benefits to such schools. This will serve as an exemplary and enriching thank you to these schools for their very much needed support to our Athletes and their Parents.
The Writer is the President of the Uganda Table Tennis Association (UTTA)

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