A mismanaged inter-school tournament

Every year Education Department KPK organizes inter-School competition in variety of fields to develop fitness and sportsmen spirit among students through co-curricular activities. Heavy entry fees, ranging between 5000 to 2000 rupees, are charged from participating teams, which runs into millions of rupees. Not a single penny is spent on the members of participating teams by way of boarding and lodging expenses of teams and their management. All the schools bear expenses of their teams through donations and contributions, as no budget for the purpose is allocated in school budgets, both in government and private schools. The same is true for university tournaments also although universities charge sports fee apart from entry fee for actual events. It is therefore not surprising that most schools in Chitral are unable to participate in divisional, regional and provincial segments of the tournament. With much difficulty they sponsor their teams at local and district level but beyond that the tournament costs more than a hundred thousand rupees each level and is thus out of their reach. Government schools have no budgetary provisions while private schools charging nominal tuition fee owing to poor financial position of parents are unable to overburden them with additional fee for sports which is likely to be considerable if it is to be played outside Chitral. The result this year like past years has been that most schools could not send their teams for divisional tournament in Swat, which includes two schools in Garam Chashma who had won district championships in football and debate completions. Ironically MPA Ghulam Muhammad who was chief guest at the finals in Chitral announced Rs.25000/ as donation for the management, i.e, the Government, which did neither need nor deserve it. This amount should have gone to winner team to encourage and subsidize its expenses and help it to participate in the divisional event. When students of the winner team approached the MPA after the prize distribution ceremony to sponsor their participation at the divisional tournament, the MPA asked them to see him later on and he would give them Rs.5000/ which is tantamount to saying in Chitral ”Hatam-e-Taio qabro paringen prai” as according to conservative estimate this participation would have at least cost one hundred thousand rupees. It would be in the fitness of things that teams competing up to district level should be presumed as school teams and as such responsibility of the respective schools but at divisional levels and above they should be considered as Chitral teams and their expenses borne by the district administration or its elected representatives, failing which it is no use milking the already impoverished schools to fill pockets of those who want to make money through every possible means. It is known to all in Chitral that jobless youth put up fake sports societies to organize tournaments and end up earning income for one year by way of donations, contributions and entry fee. The present government- sponsored tournament appears to be no different. This impression will stand true if the Education Department does not come up with details of its income and expenses during the current and past tournaments and also tell us what purpose these tournaments have achieved and how many students have catapulted to national teams and how much the Education Department is spending on coaching in schools?. Trophies worth a few thousand rupees would neither explain nor satisfy the stake holders at the receiving end. We want to know the truth and the government owes it to its much trumpeted claim of promoting transparency that it must come clean on this score. For the future it should be the responsibility of the management to sponsor expenses of teams at divisional levels and above to make it respectable and prevent its degeneration into a farce. If this option is not doable we would be better off with district tournament only as our player are not groomed and coached to make an impact at higher level. Without proper coaching for which there are no arrangements we would only be wasting our precious resources and making ourselves laughing stocks in front of town teams having good coaching facilities in club and other organized sporting organizations. Our EDO Education in Chitral is the only good thing to have happened to us in education sector for a long time but due to being hamstrung by powerful lobbies and less allocations for mobility his role has been confined to his office. Here his influence can be seen but his good impact is yet to reach the field where his mobility has been restricted among other things by insufficient entitlement to petrol consumption, especially given the large expanse of Chitral’s landscape. We hope he will do something about the issues raised in this writ-up as these involve desk work and advocacy at top levels of education where he enjoys support due to the good work that he is doing in Chitral and it would be his abiding contribution for improving governance in this area, capping his other achievements for which Chitralis would remember him as a role model in educational management and good governance. As regards our political and socio-economic leadership the less said the better. It is unfortunate that with few honourable exceptions Chitral has always faced the problem of altruistic leadership capable of rising above petty prejudices. Given such level and kind of representation, governance could not improve and Chitral’s long term interests suffered grievously as much of their decisions are driven by narrow considerations or pleasing right quarters in official circles. Because of this lack of public interest consciousness and narrow mindedness we could not produce leaders with metropolitan mindset who could espouse good causes and international best practices and unite Chitral instead of dividing it on narrow basis or with tendency to please official circles at the cost of the people for personal gain. We expect our elected representatives to come out of their in-box thinking and develop ownership of entire Chitral and patronize efforts likely to bring greatest benefit to the greatest number as Jeremy Bentham would have said and which explains why the West is so ahead of us. Had it not been for pygmies and self centered businessmen selling as leaders we would have surpassed the West by now. Sports is a big business and employer and we expect our leaders to invest on scientific coaching and construction of sports stadiums but it is our bad luck or our punishment for choosing wrong leaders that Chitral remains deprived of both these facilities. Instead of producing commission mafia and parasitical contractors disguised as development activists and leaders we should have voted for right kind of leaders. In Islam sovereignty belong to Allah and this sovereign power should be exercised in favour of public spirited leaders failing which there is bound to be divine retribution. Plato, the father of Political Science, says that every nation gets the leader that it deserves and that leaders are mirrors of a nation. It is time for soul searching especially with elections around the corner.–Islamuddin, Garam Chashma]]>

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