GC Foster to open research centre
The G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport has started work on a new research facility as the school aims to gain University College status.
The work started on Wednesday in the school's gymnasium and is expected to be completed in under two months.
Vice-principal Alf Remekie told The Gleaner that the intention of the centre is to allow the college to put into place modern structures to improve how sport is administered in Jamaica.
"This will concern fitness conditions, techniques, and anything to do with that," he said. "In different areas of sport, we want to test to be able to advise coaches how to be able to treat their athletes. It was long in our development plan to do more research because very little research is done in Jamaica. We want to really capitalise on it now since this is the place where coaches (in Jamaica) come from."
The centre will be outfitted with medical testing equipment such as a body fat analyser, a skin fold calliper, a polar heart rate monitor and other devices, which are not yet in the island. The funding for these equipment was provided by a university in China with which the school had partnered.
Principal Dr Joyce Graham-Royal said that the centre will allow the students to more easily go on to do more science based courses at university.
"When our students graduate from here, having completed a degree in physical education and sport, and they are to go and do a Master's (degree) in a science area, the universities complain that they don't have any lab experience, so this new research centre is our answer to that challenge," she said.
Graham-Royal said that an upgrade of the institution is crucial, especially if Jamaica is to grow economically. Her aim is to have the school produce more than just coaches and athletes of good standard, but also persons who can contribute to sport in other areas such as business, law and science.
She added that another idea being considered by the school is educating students in the field of sport manufacturing, with the goal of giving students the know-how to manufacture locally made sporting goods and equipment. Graham-Royal said that talks are also under way with a lecturer from Namibia to teach sport manufacturing. She said that this would allow G.C. Foster to produce items such as balls for various sports and jerseys for various teams.
"What could bring money into the country's economy like sports?" Graham-Royal asks. "Music is not as hot on the agenda right now. Sports is in." For this reason, she said that not only is Jamaica in need for a sport university college, but also the entire Caribbean. She said the school is the best option for this, as it is the only one of its kind which exists in the entire region.
There is the belief that G.C. Foster, which has a population of just under 400 students, is ideal for expansion and is looking to invite more students from not only across the Caribbean, but also North and Central America.