Why Nigeria needs sports inclusive education system – Erikewe

Paul Erikewe, the head coach of the Nigeria Customs Football Club has advocated for sports inclusive education policy as an avenue to intensify the discovery and development of talents in the country.

Erikewe in an interview with BusinessDay at his Ikeja-Lagos base said the education system in Nigeria, especially at the primary and secondary school level does not give enough room for sports and education to gel.

“We need an education system that allows athletes and children with passion for sports to be able pursue their educational goals and sports passions without being forced to forfeit either for lack of proper structuring and a calendar that doesn’t accommodate both at the same time,” he said.

He argued that if the only reason a child goes to school is for academic experiences, then it would amount to a waste of time. “Schools are tools for the growth of social and emotional intelligence. They teach us how to be around others. They teach us how to fail and how to succeed,” he said. “They teach us how to strive for our best. They teach us how to compete. They teach us humility. They teach us how to follow the rules even when it’s inconvenient. They teach us how to overcome personality differences and work together as a team. And these are what sports teach but in a different manner.”

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He urged policymakers and implementers to adopt an inclusive education and sports approach to help discover and develop more talents in the country that would rule their world in their various fields.

And to do this, he admonished the stakeholders to ensure that licensed coaches are engaged in discovering and nurturing young talents at the grassroots levels by employing and assigning them to various primary and secondary schools.

He frowned at the situation where corporate organizations will only identify with an athlete after he or her has become known, such as the case of Tobi Amusan, who was left to fight her way to limelight before even the government and other bodies came out to identify with her.

“Corporate organizations should be made to sponsor athletes as part of their taxation. Sponsoring a talent approach should be encouraged,” he said.

He frowned at the situation where an athlete will have to cater for his or her training only for the government and corporate organisation to steal the glory after success. The case of Tobi Amusan who had to seek help on her own, he said, was an instance of what he was saying.

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