Nexus Between University Education and Students’ Elite Sports Talent Development in Selected Universities in Kenya
Kubai, James P. Taitumu
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The study was designed to establish “Nexus between University Education and Students’ Elite Sports Talent Development in Selected Universities in Kenya”. United States of America and European countries like United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany and the former United Soviet Socialist Republic have the bulk of their national sports teams drawn from the universities. The universities in Kenya have contributed insignificantly to sports talents that represent the country in international sports competitions. This raised a concern and need for research study in the universities in Kenya. The objectives in the study sought to establish the relationship between universities’ education academic policies and students’ elite sports talent development, to analyze the relationship between elite sports management support systems and promotion of students’ talent development, to determine the management challenges in integrating university education and students’ talent development in elite sports and to establish a suitable sports management model that embraces education and elite sports in order to provide a critical link in aligning academics and students’ talent development in the university education in Kenya. The study was anchored on systems theory as the management of sports in the universities is guided and informed by structured sports management sub systems. The subsystems are joined to work together as whole within the principles of input-process-output strategy to achieve desired goals. Talented Students, Coaches, Games Tutors, Directors and Kenya Universities Sports Association (KUSA) officials are the parts or sub-systems that work together towards the desired output. The study using mixed research methods adopted stratified and purposive sampling methods to identify and define the sample. The management of student affairs and structures in the universities as they relate to elite sport management systems defined the sample. The tools for collecting data were questionnaires, interview schedules, observation, content analysis and focus group discussions (FGD). The reliability of the test instruments that were used was established through generating Crobanch’s alpha coefficient of 0.714 which was used as a reliability index of the research instruments. The statistical computation was done under Cross Tabulation analysis. The study findings indicate that, there is an inverse moderately strong and significant relationship between universities’ education academic policies and students’ sports talent development. There was also a positive moderate relationship between financial support and students’ sports talent development. The study further established that, there is a small inverse relationship between the current sports training support and students’ sports talent development. On competition opportunities the study found that, there is a small positive relationship between the current competition opportunities and students’ sports talent development. 87.1% of the talented students being the principal consumers of university services indicated that the main challenge in integrating academics with students’ talent development in elite sports is lack of balancing between academics and students sports talent development in elite sports. To generate an effective model to establish a link between education and students’ talent development in elite sports, universities in Kenya should consider a flexible predictive academic and sports competition schedules to balance both elite sports and academics. The findings and recommendations are expected to lay a stronger foundation for the competency based curriculum (CBC). The study also recommended a ministry of education, youth, sports and culture be created to integrate these domains in one ministry.