The two-day Physical Education and Sports virtual press conference has been dubbed a “Huge Success” by the organizers. That’s according to the conference’s point person, Curriculum Officer in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Verneta Lesporis.
The event, which aimed to serve as a platform to champion excellence and practice – based standards in the areas of physical education in Saint Lucia was summarized by Dr.Lesporis as follows:
“The conference went well on both days, we had 196 individuals registered and we were very pleased with that. We had people represented from Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, USA and host Saint Lucia,” she said.
“Our guest speaker, Senator Fortuna Belrose took us on a personal journey to show us how sports had impacted her life and made her resilient. Following Senator Belrose presentation we had Dr. Rudolph Alleyne who spoke on the Physiological impact of Covid-19. It was a session the participants found to be very appropriate for what we are going through right now. We are all managing and doing what we can to get through our duties, however, sometimes we don’t take time to take care of ourselves and the isolation and everything that is associated with the lockdown have had an impact on us,” Lesporis summarized.
Following Dr. Alleyne’s presentation there was a physical activity break with the 2019 senior sportsman for the year Albert Reynolds followed by administrators of various sporting disciplines. Overall, all the presentations on day one were very well received.
Dr. Lesporis continued with her summarization stating that on day two, Tyrone Marcus from Trinidad and Tobago started things off with a very powerful presentation that participants really needed to hear.
“He gave us several examples of issues (cases) that turned up in court with coaches, athletes and PE Teachers and how some of those cases have gone. Marcus also talked about the Law of Negligence, Liability and really allowed the PE Teachers and Coaches to see that they have a duty to protect the athletes and persons that are in their charge,” Lesporis said.
According to her Marcus also touched on Child Protection and Safeguarding noting that “a number of our teachers had under gone training in Child Protection and Safeguarding, so that part of the presentation, I hope for most of them, was a repeat of information they already heard, but hearing it come from someone who is so well verse in the topic, he gave some added importance to it”.
“Marcus also asked the question: Do you have robust safeguarding policy and some of the points he touched on include, overseas travel policy for youth teams (especially hotel policy); Adequate supervision at sports camps; Ratio of adults to children; Criminal records/ police background checks; Creating a safe space for children to speak up; High -risk sports: swimming, gymnastics, martial arts (good touch/ bad touch). Marcus did not disappoint at all, he fielded several questions from the participants which showed the level of interest he had generated”.
What next for the PE Teachers Association and the Ministry of Education?
“Schools will be resuming in the coming days, so our focus will be helping our PE Teachers get back into schools following the COVID -19 protocols. They did that when schools were in session, so now we have to go back and remind our teachers of the various protocols they have to follow.
“In terms of the PE Conference, we meet on Thursday 8th March to review and plan for the next one, although it’s a year away, we have already commenced the planning process. So, it’s a matter of supporting our PE Teachers as they head back to the class rooms.
“When it came to evaluations at the end persons had very high remarks for the various presentations. On an organizing standpoint, it was a huge success. There were a few hiccups along the way, but nothing that had any adverse impact and these are things we can remedy for future conferences,” Dr.Lesporis said.