When the RJR Sports Foundation announces speedsters Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce as the 2015 recipients of the National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year awards at tonight’s ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus, it will hardly come as a surprise to many.Likewise, considering the year they both had, shot put strongman O’Dayne Richards – last year’s runner-up and sprint hurdles world champion Danielle Williams are sure to get hearty receptions, as they head the candidates seeking the runner-up spots.Richards struggled on the Diamond League circuit before coming to life at the Pan American Games in Toronto, where his national record heave of 21.69m won him a gold medal. He would repeat the mark a few weeks later at the World Championships in Beijing, to take the bronze and become Jamaica’s first medallist in the event at that level.Hansle Parchment’s World Championships silver medal in the 110m hurdles also makes him a strong contender for the runner-up spot. Additionally, the towering hurdler is the first Jamaican to win a silver medal in the 110m hurdles in senior-level global competition, given his result – like Richards’, considerable historical significance.He might, and dare we say, should, however, be edged out by Richards’ back-to-back national record efforts.Williams, flying below the radarOn the female side, Williams, flying below the radar in every pre-championships predictions, delivered when it mattered most in winning the gold medal in the 100m hurdles at the World Championships.That was a massive result for the pint-sized hurdler, who returned the gold to Jamaica after Brigitte Foster-Hylton’s win at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.It should be enough to see her across the line – behind Fraser-Pryce, with some other top contenders such as World Championships 200m silver and 4x100m gold medal winner Elaine Thompson; boxer Alicia Ashley, who successfully defended her WBC super bantamweight title; World Championships bronze and relay gold medal winners – Shericka Jackson (400m and 4x400m); Veronica Campbell-Brown (200m and 4x100m); and ever-present swimmer Alia Atkinson (50m breaststroke silver and national record as well as 100m breaststroke bronze at the FINA World Championships plus a year-ending number-three world ranking in the 50m breaststroke, all presenting strong claims.Little doubt, however, as to who will spend tonight as the country’s top male and female sporting stars.Save for some major surprises, speed-king Bolt will win his sixth National Sportsman of the Year title.This will give him sole command of the second-place spot in the all-time list, which is headed by boxer Michael McCallum, who punched his way to seven titles.Bolt shook off a rusty start to his season to win World Championships gold medals in the 100m (with the third-fastest time in World Championships final history – 9.79), the 200m and as a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team.Last year’s nod to Atkinson was the first time a non-track-and-field athlete won the Sportswoman of the Year award since 1976, when cricketer Vivalyn Latty-Scott won the award.Fraser-Pryce, who won this award in 2012 and 2013, won gold medals in the 100m and 4x100m at the World Championships as well as took the 100m title in the IAAF Diamond League series.
The principal of the Ganta United Methodist School (GUMS), says the country’s education problem is beyond short-term closing although decision by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to close school as of July 31 stands. Mr. Roger S. Domah in a statement, he indicated that key stakeholders including the MOE need to sit and critically analyze the problem and identify those activities that best suit Liberian education system instead of rushing to close school, and be in conformity with educational calendar that others are using in their countries.He said the “Messy” education system needs some hard decisions that will be unpopular and should be able to affect whoever it can since the intent is to correct the errors that have damaged the system.Mr. Domah said besides the lack of competent Mathematics and English teachers in most schools as stated by the new Minister of Education, George Werner, there is a need to revisit the system of licensing schools and teachers; something he said has major role in bringing out mushroom schools that do not have the first facilities or the qualified teachers.He stressed that this aspect of failure is directly associated with government, and if changes can be made, such error needs to be identified and worked on thoroughly to make changes that will suit Liberia’s education.The GUMS Principal also said the government and stakeholders need to evaluate teachers with university degree; follow up the time spent at a university and the cause of staying for such time. “We must also study and closely supervise the admission and employment processes in our school system; the quality of supervision during the administration and marking of West AfricanExamination Council (WAEC) administer examinations; the length of time spent by individual students especially at universities and the consequences of over staying; consequences for students who will not improve their academic performances after all efforts have been exerted, and a system to receive reports on education officers’ (Eos’) and other educational officials and bodies who are involved in “unethical conducts” or performing dismal even in the remotest parts of the Country.”Mr. Dormah during last academic year fell in controversy with education authority of Nimba for booking his own student cheating on the WAEC Exam.The county authority and others took him to the provincial capital, Sanniquellie on ground that his action to expose the student brought disrepute to the county.Against this backdrop, Mr. Domah suggested that “The Ministry should also introduce an external examiner system where samples of tests from schools and universities will have second opinion especially for graduating seniors before they are given clearances.”“I must express that our educational system for the past decade has been responsible for the massive indiscipline, corruptions, bad governance and all of the vices that Liberia is suffering from. Most of those working in our various public and private sectors today are performing the way they are doing because this is how they were processed-“encouraging you to make your way out instead of meriting your accomplishments,” he said.He also indicated that the suggestion to revolutionize the education system should be intentional and must go beyond words, noting that they way the change is done may lead to failure or success.He then called on the new MOE Administration to carefully handle the school matter without rushing in order to have a fruit results as the system is being spoiled not only by teachers or students, but government, school administration, parents and others.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)