JGA’s HeroesWeekend ClassicThe Jamaica Golf Association’s (JGA) Heroes Weekend Classic will be held on October 17 and 18 at Sandals Golf and Country Club.Sandals Ocho Rios will be offering a special rate of US$300 per couple per night for golfers who are entered in the JGA event. The entry fee is $8,000 for members and $9,000 for non-members. One day fee is $5,000 while the fee for juniors is $4,000.The cost for shared cart and caddy is US$27.50 per day. For walkers, the caddy fee is US$20.Antigua’s Joseph among winnersEDMONTON, Canada (CMC):Teenaged Antiguan jockey Kwame Joseph was among the winners as Caribbean riders continued to dominate at Northlands Park at midweek.The 17-year-old Joseph, in his first stint on the international circuit, won the final race of the eight-race card with 15-1 outsider Kaitlans Song.He was joined on the winners’ list by four-time defending champion, Barbadian Rico Walcott, who captured race three with favourite Wild Romeo, and Jamaican Trevor Simpson, who won race one with 4-1 bet Im Hott Ur Nott.Veteran Barbadian rider Desmond Bryan took race five with 4-1 choice Montana Skies, while fellow national Damario Bynoe scored an upset in race six with rank 60-1 outsider Gold Kiss.With just over two weeks left in the Northlands Park season, Walcott is coasting towards his fifth consecutive title with 127 wins, with Scott Williams sitting second on 68.Jamaican Tony Maragh is third on 48 but just narrowly ahead of Shannon Beauregard on 46.Switzerland qualify for Euro 2016LONDON (AP):Switzerland will return for the European Championship for the first time since co-hosting the tournament eight years ago after thrashing San Marino 7-0 yesterday with seven different scorers.As the Swiss secured second place, Group E leaders England made it nine wins out of nine in qualifying, with Theo Walcott and Raheem Sterling scoring in a 2-0 win over Estonia.With one qualifier remaining, Switzerland have an unassailable five-point advantage over Slovenia, who were held 1-1 by Lithuania.England are the only team with a 100 per cent record in qualifying for next year’s finals and should be top-seeded in the draw.Spain on a cruiseLOGRONO, Spain (AP):Santi Cazorla and Paco Alcacer scored two goals each to help Spain beat Luxembourg 4-0 yesterday and secure a spot for the holders in next year’s European Championship.Cazorla scored in the 42nd and 85th minutes, while Alcacer netted in the 67th and 80th to give Spain 24 points in Group C, five more than Slovakia and Ukraine. Slovakia lost 1-0 at home to Belarus, while Ukraine defeated Macedonia 2-0.In the final round, Ukraine host Spain who will be looking for a third consecutive European title in France next year, and Slovakia play at Luxembourg.The top two teams from the nine groups qualify automatically. The best third-place team also advances, while the other eight meet in a playoff.
The Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) All Island Community Netball League might prove to be a fitting conduit for development plans of the sport’s governors here, Netball Jamaica (NJ).Last Saturday, Dr Paula Daley Morris was elected unopposed as the new NJ president. On Sunday, the INSPORTS-run islandwide league started.”We met with Dr Paula Daley Morris and she wants to meet with all stakeholders and INSPORTS will be included,” Ian Andrews, INSPORTS’ administrative director, informed. “She wants us to assist in their junior programme development as she wants to start a strong junior programme.”It fits right into our mandate. We hope that this competition will assist in that way,” he said.The competition, which will cater to over 9,500 competitors from various communities across Jamaica, got under way at the Delacree Park Community Centre and in the opening game, Max Social (Maxfield Park) swamped Hagley Park All Stars 36-0. Tashai Price did most damage, netting 28 of Max Social’s goals.Though it involves competition, there are other components to the league, primarily coaching seminars that will be conducted by certified coaches. Players will be taught the rudiments of the game, such as passing, shooting and defending.According to INSPORTS officer Tanya Wright, these seminars can be considered as a continuation of the umpires’ training seminars that were held across the island earlier this year.”In keeping with the agency’s mandate to unearth and nurture talent, this programme seeks to create a medium to expose talents and to channel them into the national programme for further development and possible representation,” remarked Wright, one of the coordinators of the league.Venues islandwide”We’re going to use approximately five venues in every parish,” she continued, noting that the league will continue on Sunday with more matches at Delacree Park.The competition is similar to its popular All Island Football League, which is dubbed the ‘Ghetto World Cup’.”We’re going to be having matches in all the parishes and so far, we’ve been getting positive feedback from the communities. They had been waiting for a long time, so now that’s it’s here they are excited,” said Wright.”We’re going to be placing a lot of emphasis on the coaching aspect because we want to ensure that the basic concepts are taught at the grassroots level.”
NEW DELHI – In late April, a 17-year-old girl named Kriti Tripathi leaped to her death in Kota, India, shortly after passing the country’s examination for admission to the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT). A week later, another Kota student, Preeti Singh, hanged herself, succumbing to her injuries after a few days. Singh’s was the ninth suicide by a student in Kota this year alone, and the 56th in the last five. All attended Kota’s “coaching institutes,” whose sole purpose is to prepare high-school students for the IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). In a five-page suicide note, Tripathi expressed her frustration at having been compelled to study engineering, when her real ambition was to become a NASA scientist. She also described the pressure she had faced at the coaching institution. Tripathi implored the Human Resource Development Ministry to shut down such institutes, which force their students to endure unbearable stress and depression. The story is all too common, but should the blame really be laid on the coaching institutes? In fact, Kota’s coaching institutes are a symptom of a larger problem, hinted at by the city’s senior administrator, District Collector Ravi Kumar Surpur, in an emotional letter he wrote in response to the latest deaths. Addressing parents directly, Surpur pleaded with them not to subject their children to excessive stress in an attempt to live vicariously through them. Indian parents are known for demanding academic excellence from their children. They know that a professional degree in the right field is a passport to social and economic advancement, so they push hard to ensure that their children get one – something that India’s higher-education system does not make easy. Given this deeply entrenched culture of academic ambition, the planned administrative inquiry into conditions at the Kota coaching institutes is unlikely to result in remedial action. The toll this culture takes on young people is obvious. Students are forced to pass brutally difficult examinations – only about 10,000 of the 500,000 who take the IIT-JEE each year score high enough to be admitted – in subjects they often detest. And Indian students are far more likely to push themselves until they crack than to drop out. Engineering and medicine remain the subjects of choice for middle-class Indian parents. The country graduates a half-million engineers every year, some 80% of whom end up in jobs that do not require an engineering degree. But, in a throwback to the mid-twentieth century, Indian parents view engineering as the gateway to modernity, and continue pressing their children to study it. Students who do not make it to an IIT end up in institutions of varying quality, many of which do not equip their graduates for today’s labor market. But at least there are enough engineering colleges in India to meet demand. Medicine, by contrast, is a frustratingly crowded field – and for no good reason. India’s medical profession is controlled by the Medical Council of India, an opaque and self-serving cabal that has intentionally limited the supply of available medical college seats. Medical colleges must be recognized by the MCI, which has seen fit to permit only 381 to exist. That leaves only 63,800 slots each year in a country of 1.2 billion people – enough space for fewer than 1% of Indian students aspiring to attend medical school. As if that were not bad enough, some of the seats are awarded against “donations,” with the wealthy essentially purchasing positions that their marks do not merit. Meanwhile, high-achieving students who just barely missed the cutoff have to find alternatives – or pursue another field altogether. Those whose families can afford it often end up studying medicine abroad. Many do not return to India, depriving the country of their much-needed expertise. Some return after having attended obscure colleges in countries like Georgia or China, only to have the MCI refuse to recognize their degrees and block them from practicing. For those who cannot afford to go abroad – even bright students who barely missed the cutoff for a spot at an Indian university – studying medicine is no longer an option. Yet India desperately needs doctors. According to the World Health Organization, the country has just 0.7 doctors per 1,000 people. In the United States and the United Kingdom – two countries to which Indian doctors often emigrate – the rate is 2.5 per 1,000 and 2.8 per 1,000, respectively. The crippling lack of capacity means that lives are lost every day – particularly in rural areas – for want of medical attention. India could be graduating four or five times as many capable doctors as it does each year. Yet the MCI has been allowed to pursue its restrictive approach, depriving poor Indians of adequate health care, while augmenting the already-huge pressure on students to gain a seat in a medical college. It is in this context – with a huge population competing for a tiny number of seats in professional colleges – that coaching institutes like those in Kota thrive. When succeeding in tough entrance examinations is the only way to fulfill one’s educational goals, test preparation becomes the be-all and end-all of schooling. Eager to satisfy pushy parents, young people sacrifice their own interests at the altar of a false god. The 56 pyres lit in Kota over the last five years are a tragic testament to how damaging this conception of academic excellence can be. About the author: Shashi Tharoor, a former UN under-secretary-general and former Indian Minister of State for Human Resource Development and Minister of State for External Affairs, is currently an MP for the Indian National Congress and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs. He is the author of Pax Indica: India and the World of the 21st Century.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)