KMS defends leasing of school’s sports facilities

Thursday, April 19, 2012, 23:58

The decision to lease government schools’ sports facilities to the Kunsill Malti għall-Isport (KMS) for use outside of school hours has been defended by the council, which dismissed concerns raised by the Malta Union of Teachers.

The union argued that heads of schools, as well as the needs of students and schools, had been ignored. Moreover, it said that it could not understand how the KMS would be allowed to lease the school grounds to football clubs who already had their own premises, converting all school grounds to football pitches to the detriment of other sports.

The MUT also said that the KMS was in no position to monitor school grounds due to a chronic lack of human resources, and said that it would be writing to the Education Minister to explain its concerns.

But in a reaction, the KMS said that the union was not properly informed about what was taking place, and defended the lease.

It noted that the contracts drawn up stipulate when facilities can be used and mandate an insurance policy, maintenance, discipline, ethics and supervision.

So far, it said, sports facilities in 16 schools were used by 34 sports associations, of which 12 actually invested €1.5 million to improve the facilities. It denied that the contracts were turning school grounds into football pitches, remarking that over 10 different sports were being practiced in school grounds.

Moreover, the running tracks at St Benedict College and at St Ignatius College were opened for free public use, and the track in the new Mosta secondary school may soon be opened, the council said. Around 700 people are making use of these tracks so far, it added.

Heads of schools were not being ignored, the KMS said; principals and heads of schools were consulted whenever a contract was signed.

The council also insisted that proper monitoring was taking place, stating that it had employed watchmen to keep school grounds under surveillance when they are used outside of school hours.

In reply to other concerns raised by the union, the KMS stressed that educational authorities had full control over the advertising permissible in sports facilities to ensure it is not detrimental to children, and pointed out that it was sports associations – and not school administrations – which were responsible for any damages which may result from sports facilities’ use.

The MUT was seeking a revision to the contracts concerned, but the KMS argued that the union was apparently proposing that these contracts should aim for profit. The council disagreed, pointing out that the sports associations concerned were voluntary and non-profit, and that ultimately, the arrangement was to the benefit of the children who used these facilities.



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