The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) is currently participating in a FIFA Football for Schools (F4S) workshop at the Holiday Inn, Montego Bay, Jamaica.
In attendance are TTFA general secretary Amiel Mohammed and youth football director and head of TTFA coach education Rajesh Latchoo. Representatives of the Ministry of Education and SporTT are also being present at the workshop.
There are 90 delegates from 21 Concacaf member associations taking part in the workshop led by the director of the F4S programme, Fatimata Sidibe. This initiative started in Kigali, Rwanda, in 2018 and has so far been implemented in over 50 of the 211 FIFA member associations.
A statement by TTFA on Wednesday said, “F4S is an ambitious programme run by FIFA, in collaboration with UNESCO, which aims to contribute to the education, development and empowerment of around 700 million children.
“It seeks to make football more accessible to both boys and girls around the world by incorporating football activities into the education system, in partnership with relevant authorities and stakeholders.
“The programme has been designed to promote targeted life skills and competencies through football and contribute to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other priorities.”
The F4S programme is aligned with global sport, education and health policies, including UNESCO’s Kazan Action Plan, the Education 2030: Incheon Declaration and Framework of Action, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Action Plan on Physical Activity (GAPPA).
The F4S programme can be used by member associations and their governments to further national development priorities.
It includes a free digital application (Football for Schools), accessible via Google Play and the Apple App Store, an online learning platform with relevant content for programme stakeholders, the provision of equipment that will be distributed to schools and financial assistance to each association to run the programme.
Its objectives are to empower learners (boys and girls) with valuable life skills and competencies, empower and provide coach-educators with the training to deliver sport and life-skills activities, build the capacity of stakeholders (schools, associations and public authorities) to deliver training in life skills through football and to strengthen the cooperation between governments, associations and participating schools to enable partnerships, alliances and inter-sectoral collaboration
The statement continued, “Schools remain the most effective and efficient avenue in which to engage young people in sport. While FIFA, and its member associations, provide support to countless local associations and clubs that compete in leagues, FIFA, in collaboration with UNESCO, is committed to ensuring that children at school receive opportunities. This is especially important in countries that do not have an effective club structure.”
The F4S programme aims to ensure that football is accessible to all learners, without discrimination. Anyone who wants to play football must know that it is possible to do so through their school or community, using the facilities available in the country.
While the main remit of this programme is to support the provision of football coaching and equipment to schools, FIFA encourages its member associations and in-country partners to recognise the importance of engaging with out-of-school youngsters.
Given that many schools lack equipment and qualified personnel to deliver football activities, FIFA will provide equipment (footballs) through its member associations as well as this online learning platform and a mobile application that provides easy-to-use content for training sessions.
It is hoped that the platform will help educators, coaches and parents to better support, deliver and manage F4S activities in their schools and communities.
The F4S programme can enable schools to tackle a range of social issues while providing an attractive vehicle in which to engage and educate learners, and even motivate educators too.
It is not designed to detract from teaching or classroom time, and it is in fact intended to complement the efforts of educators and advance education outcomes, thus assisting governments.
Football is capable of playing a vital role in the education system and acting as a “school of life”.