Activezone, the Junior College Fitness Centre, was recently inaugurated by the Rector, Prof. R. Ellul Micallef and blessed by the Chaplain, Fr Francis Abdilla.
In his address, the Principal, Mr Godfrey Muscat dwelt on the difficulties and problems which had to be overcome in order to accomplish this ambitious project. The main reasons which lead the Administration to embark on this project were three: to provide students with further facilities to induce them to remain within the College precincts; to generate income to be invested in other projects and to offer a service to the Community.
The funds for this project came from the Junior College Reserve Fund, money raised by the Administration, mainly through hiring of the premises and other fund-raising activities. The machines were bought by the University and repayment will take place over a number of years from money generated from Activezone.
The Centre will be open exclusively for students and staff, who will benefit from special membership fees, during College hours and will be offered to the public outside College hours. It is hoped that students will be allowed to make use of their Smart Card to pay for their membership of Activezone.
The equipment consisting of Isometric and Isotonic machines, Cardiovascular non-electric machines and weights, is all state-of-the-Art equipment and unique to our island. Mr Muscat explained how the College Administr-ation is giving due importance to physical education because it believes that students can achieve much more academically when a healthy mind is harboured in a healthy body. He also announced that the College Gym, together with its machinery, which will continue to be used by Junior College students free of charge, was this summer due for a complete overhaul and refurbishment.
Two five-a-side artificial turf pitches are also in the pipeline, thanks to the contributions made by Junior College alumni over the past six years.
Mr Muscat criticised the present educational system in Malta, which is based too much on the academia, leaving very little, if any, space and time for our youngsters to continue following sports activities once they reach school-leaving examination levels and beyond.
“What’s the use of boasting on one hand of the number of computers distributed to our children and of national promotion of I.T, while on the other hand we publish statistical data which puts our children among the most obese in Europe?”
A modus vivendi is to be sought between academia and sports if we want our youngsters to be in a position to train and compete with their counterparts in European and International competitions and improve upon results already achieved.
The State should consider employing instructors and coaches specialising in certain sports disciplines at schools and colleges to be in a position to scout for children and accompany promising, talented youngsters through their secondary, post-secondary and tertiary education.
Secondly, sports activities should be integrated and form part and parcel of a whole educational program with credits awarded at SEC, MATSEC and tertiary levels. In this way, a student will not have to abandon training or coaching because of his school, college, or university commitments.
Mr Muscat invited authorities concerned to ponder on this situation and try to propose amendments to the present educational set-up.
He thanked all those who in one way or another contributed to the opening of this Fitness Centre and augured well to Mr Martin Farrugia, the Operator of Activezone.
Professor C. J. Farrigia, Pro-Rector, and Chairman of the Junior College Board and the Rector, Professor R. Ellul Micallef also addressed the guests.