Compensation needed for school coaches - Clarke
Veteran high-school track and field coach Michael Clarke believes that coaches who dedicate their time to harness the talents of young Jamaicans ought to be compensated if they are expected to continue to develop world-class athletes.
Clarke, who is considered to be one of the highest-paid high-school coaches in the island, said many of his counterparts have invested time and money in developing their skills and should thus get returns on their investments.
"A large percentage of our coaches are G.C. Foster [College] graduates, and with the emphasis on academic qualification in the discipline, I think that they should be compensated," Clarke pointed out. "Not only do you have G.C. Foster, but you have the IAAF courses that are run by the JAAA, that put coaches in different category."
Clarke, who is aiming to win his seventh-straight title at this year's staging of ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships, said coaches who are compensated are a lot more motivated.
"I think if you are compensated, it should add a stronger sense of motivation for you to produce better athletes that will not only help the school in terms of its credibility and its devotion to sports, but also for our nation, in terms of identifying and honing and nurturing talents," Clarke said.
He added that the athletic development of student athletes is vital as it gives them an opportunity to become successful adults.
With the exception of a few schools who have deployed a strategy of hiring coaches in teaching positions, past students are primarily responsible for compensating local high-school coaches.
ASSISTANT COACHES NEED MORE, TOO
When asked whether top-tier coaches, like himself, are being compensated properly, Clarke refused to answer, but hinted that assistant coaches could be paid a little bit better.
One of those assistant coaches is former Calabar High School standout, Jerome Myers, who has had short stints at several prominent high schools in the Corporate Area.
"When you have to be thinking about work, you can't focus on developing the athletes like how you want to," Myers said.
While not being able to say what percentage of high-school track coaches are being compensated, Clarke pointed out that many of the non-traditional high schools are not in a position to offer salaries.
"It's almost impossible to tell, but I think it's mostly the traditional high schools who may be paying coaches," Clarke said.
The Ministry of Education does not allocate funds to support extracurricular activities.