BASSETERRE, St Kitts (EMU) -- Physical education teachers and coaches in high schools around St Kitts and Nevis are better able to steer athletes and other students away from the use of performance enhancing substances following a workshop to provide them with comprehensive training and education on the various components of anti-doping.
The UNESCO funded project “Levelling the Playing Field in the Secondary School Sector” seeks to pass critical information to youth between the ages of 11-14 by way of their teachers and coaches in an effort to reach them at an age where they are vulnerable and at risk for drug and alcohol use, yet open to positive influences.
Among main objectives, is the desire to instill the Olympic values in students by assisting them to self-actualize without the use of performance enhancing substances, as well as to safeguard the future sporting resource in St Kitts and Nevis.
Three other Caribbean territories are also part of the sub-regionally implemented, project spearheaded by the Regional Anti-Doping Organization (RADO): Barbados, British Virgin Islands and St Lucia.
The plan is to eventually implement this project in all fifteen members of RADO, creating a nexus between the educational sectors and governments in each of its member countries.
Secretary general of the National Commission for UNESCO in St Kitts and Nevis said in addressing the opening gathering that UNESCO’s support of this project is based in its commitment to the preservation of the values that underpin education and sports.
He said this is threatened by “the erosion of ethics and the gross lack of integrity created by the use of performance enhancing drugs by not only athletes but by very young students.”
The secretary general added that UNESCO would continue to partner with RADO and ministries of education at all levels to make this practice taboo.
Chief education officer Clarice Cotton said the ministry of education’s commitment to sports and physical education lies in its objective to develop well rounded students and future citizens including the promotion of good moral and ethical values.
The CEO applauded partners in this venture UNESCO and RADO for simplifying the process by giving critical guidance and road maps that reduce unnecessary pitfalls in addressing “new territory” as the roles of teachers increase with new challenges.
She emphasized the importance of anti-doping and anti-drug education as “an integral part of the investment in young people.” She further noted that the ministry must ensure that students are equipped with the information to make smart lifestyle choices.
Participants in the workshops, which took place from September 24-25 on St Kitts and 26-27 on Nevis, received a number of useful resource materials including: The Spirit of Sport in Every Day Life; Putting the Spirit of Sport into Action; The Spirit of Sport Values; as well as At-A-Glance Series (teachers and coaches anti-doping tool kits).
Long time fitness coach, teacher and sporting enthusiast Leroy Green said he felt the event was an outstandingly practical one given the fact that there were hands-on materials distributed and training provided In the use of them as well as the fact that contemporary methods would be used to reach youth.
Facilitators of the course included local and overseas based doctors, coaches, physical education teachers, guidance counselors and sporting administrators.