At what age must my child enter school? What if I can’t afford the school fees? Are teachers allowed to smack my child? What if my child has special educational needs? Can I educate my child at home? We give you the answers, and more, to frequent questions about South Africa’s schooling system.We give you the answers, and more, to frequent questions about South Africa’s schooling system. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterClick on the question to read the answer.What are the South African government’s responsibilities regarding education?At what age must my child start school?What are the grades in South African schools?What documents do I have to supply to admit my child to a school?Can my child attend any public school?How do I go about finding the right school?What can I expect to pay?Can a school take legal action against me if I don’t pay my child’s school fees?But what if I can’t afford to pay school fees?Can a school refuse to admit my child if I haven’t paid school fees?Can a school refuse to admit my child for any other reason?What if I’m still having trouble getting my child into a school?Are teachers allowed to hit my child?How large will my child’s class be?Is learning computer-based?Will my child have access to sporting and other facilities?Will tuition be in English?What if my child has special educational needs?Do parents have a say in the running of their children’s school?Are school uniforms compulsory?Are children allowed to wear religious dress to school?How long are the school holidays?Can I home school in South Africa?Useful documents What are the South African government’s responsibilities regarding education?Section 29 (1) of South Africa’s Constitution reads: “Everyone has the right to a basic education, including adult basic education; and to further education, which the state, through reasonable measures, must make progressively available and accessible.”According to the South African Schools Act of 1996, schooling is compulsory for all South Africans from the age of six (grade 1) to the age of 15, or the completion of grade 9.At what age may my child start school?The age of a child entering grade 1 is age five turning six by 30 June in the year of admission. For grade 0 (otherwise known as grade R – the reception year), the age is four turning five by 30 June in the year of admission.If parents feel their children are not yet ready for school, they are allowed to admit them at an older age – five turning six for grade 0, and six turning seven for grade 1.Many schools conduct school-readiness tests to determine if a later admission would be in the child’s best interests.What are the grades in South African schools?Schooling runs from grade 0 (the reception year also known as grade R) through to grade 12 (known as matric). Grades 1 to 9 are compulsory and are classified as General Education and Training. Grades 10 to 12 are considered to be Further Education and Training.Grade 12 is the year of matriculation, which is required (with certain minimum conditions) for tertiary education. Some private schools also offer a post-matric “sixth form” year which allows students to sit for A-level examinations.What documents do I have to supply to admit my child to a school?For public schools, the only documents parents are required to supply when applying to admit their child to school are:The child’s birth certificate;The child’s immunisation card; and,The child’s transfer card or last school report, if the child has already been to another school.A child may be registered provisionally if these documents are not immediately available, and the parents must be given a reasonable time to submit them.If you are not a South African citizen, you should also include a copy of your study permit or your temporary or permanent residence permit. If you do not yet have a permit, you will need to submit evidence that you have applied for permission to stay in South Africa.It is the responsibility of every parent (or guardian) to ensure that:Their children are registered for the following year, well before the end of the current school year;Their children attend school regularly; and,All children between the ages six and 15 years attend school.Can my child attend any public school?A parent may register his or her child at any public school, if there are vacancies.Most schools have established so-called feeder zones, the area the school favours when admitting students. The order of preference for admission to schools generally is:Children whose parents live in the school’s feeder zone – this includes parents who live at their place of work, such as domestic workers;Children whose parents work in the feeder zone; and,The rest are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis, and may be placed on a waiting list.However, the provincial departments of education are obliged to find a place in school for every learner. The feeder zone system does not apply to private or independent schools, which have their own admission requirements.How do I go about finding the right school?For state schools, contact the provincial department of education, which keeps a comprehensive list of all registered schools. Most provincial departments have searchable school databases on their websites – see the list in the box on the right.For private schools contact the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa for its list.What can I expect to pay?Many of our state-aided schools – which receive a state subsidy as well as fees from parents – are on a par with private schools at a fraction of the price. A good state-aided school, offering smallish class sizes (about 25-odd) – generally the former Model C schools – may cost R8 000 to R20 000 per year compared with a private school, costing about R30 000 to R70 000 per year – excluding boarding, which could cost an extra R50 000 a year.Some 80% of South Africa’s school pupils don’t pay fees. Fees are paid at about 5 000 of the 25 000 schools. At primary school, fees are about R1 000 a month; at secondary school fees are about R2 300 a month, depending on the school.State funding is organised on a quintile system, in which schools are divided into five categories according to the poverty levels in the areas they serve. Poorer schools are given larger state subsidies, and so have lower school fees, while wealthier schools are given smaller subsidies, and so have higher fees.In the poorest areas of all, parents are completely exempt from paying school fees. These schools are called no-fee schools that receive all their required funding from the government. For the first three quintile groups, the government’s allocation for schools per child is R1 116. In quintile four, R559 is paid per child, and for quintile five the allocation is R193.No-fee schools will be published in the Provincial Gazette and the criteria to determine no-fee schools will be based on the economic level of the community around the school.In January 2015, it was reported that the most expensive private school in South Africa was Hilton College in KwaZulu-Natal. Pupils who board at this school each pay R219 500 per year.Like most private schools, Hilton College’s annual increase for school fees in 2015 from 2014, was 5%. Other expensive private schools, such as Treverton College in KwaZulu-Natal, cost R72&nsbp;800 annually per pupil, boarders at the school pay R149 800 annually.Can a school take legal action against me if I don’t pay my child’s school fees?Yes; in terms of the Schools Act, parents have a legal obligation to pay public school fees, as determined by the school governing body.But this action can only be taken if the fee-exemption criteria have been applied, and the parent still found to be liable for – in other words, can afford to pay – the fees. This obviously excludes no-fee schools, and orphans are exempt from school fees.But what if I can’t afford to pay school fees?At all public schools, parents may apply for a reduction in or even exemption from school fees. If both parents’ annual earnings are less than 10 times the yearly school fees (before tax), the child qualifies for a full fee exemption. Partial exemptions can also be made for parents with financial problems. This generally requires some kind of proof of income.Schools are encouraged to form a school fees committee, which should assist parents in applying for exemption. Forms for fee exemption should be available at the school office; otherwise contact your provincial department of education.Can a school refuse to admit my child if I haven’t paid school fees?No; in terms of the Schools Act, no student may be refused admission to a public school on the grounds that his or her parent or caregiver is unable to pay, or has not paid, school fees.It is also illegal for a school to refuse to allow a child to take part in the school’s sporting, cultural or social activities – such as the matric dance – on the grounds that fees have not been paid, or to retain the child’s report.Can a school refuse to admit my child for any other reason?No, the school may not, unless the child has already been expelled from that particular school. All schools must admit students without discrimination of any kind. Schools may not administer tests or use pre-school experience or language as reasons not to enrol a child. Admission may not be refused because parents or guardians:Are unable to pay, or haven’t paid, school fees;Do not subscribe to the school’s mission statement;Have refused to sign an indemnity contract; or,Are unable to afford all or part of the school uniform.What if I’m still having trouble getting my child into a school?Call the Department of Basic Education’s toll-free hotline on 0800 202 933, contact your provincial education department, or contact the Education Rights Project.Are teachers allowed to hit or cane my child?No; the Schools Act outlaws corporal punishment. Any teacher administering physical punishment faces prosecution for assault, and may be fined or even jailed.Corporal or physical punishment can take many forms, including hitting with a hand or an object such as a cane, belt, whip, shoe or ruler, slapping, kicking, shaking, burning, pinching or pulling hair, forcing someone to stand in an uncomfortable and undignified position, denying or restricting someone’s use of the toilet, denying meals, drink, heat and shelter as a form of punishment, or forcing someone to do excessive exercise.How large will my child’s class be?There is usually some correlation between class size and fees. At the state- aided schools where parents pay for extra teachers by way of school fees, and at the more expensive private schools, the maximum number of pupils is usually about 30. At poorer schools this is often higher, with as many as 40 to 50 children in a classroom.Is learning at schools computer-based?This depends on a particular school’s resources. Most private and state-aided schools have well-stocked computer or media centres, and increasing numbers have computers in every classroom. There are several government and private initiatives to get the rest – most schools in townships and rural areas – online within the next few years.For more information on schools online, see School Net.Will my child have access to sporting and other facilities?While schools in poor areas are sorely under-resourced when it comes to sports fields and other facilities, most schools in the suburbs have good to excellent sporting facilities. Space is seldom a constraint in South Africa, and a growing number of schools boast state-of-the-art Astroturf hockey fields, indoor gyms, squash courts and swimming pools.The emphasis on sport depends largely on the school, but – given that sport is a national preoccupation – most schools devote substantial amounts of time to it. In fact, under the new curriculum introduced in 2012, sport is included in the school day, aiming to ensure all children have the opportunity to participate.Other facilities such as music rooms, theatres and art centres depend largely on the particular bent of the school and on its financial resources. Most state-aided schools offer a range of curricular and extramural choices in the arts.Will tuition be in English?It is compulsory to do a home language, which is the language of learning and teaching, and an additional language from grade 1. These are set by the school governing body (see below), and are not necessarily the language spoken at home by the majority of learners.While research shows that learners who are taught in their mother tongue perform better, most schools choose to teach in English because of parent perception that it will benefit their children. From grade 4 onwards, learners are encouraged to switch to English.If you want a new language to be introduced to your preferred school, you must get at least 35 parents together who want this option. You must then see the principal and school governing body as a delegation.My daughter has special learning needs. Do regular schools have remedial programmes, or must she go to a special school?It depends on the severity of the problem and on how well-resourced the school is. In 2010, there were 104 633 children in 423 public special needs schools. There are also private schools for children with severe remedial problems or disabilities.South Africa has a policy of inclusive education, which includes various models to integrate special-needs children into ordinary schools. However, a lack of resources and infrastructure have meant that this policy has been slow to implement and children who have been mainstreamed don’t always get the special education they need.Some of the better-off schools, both state-aided and private, offer remedial education in one form or another. They employ remedial teachers and run small remedial classes alongside regular classes.Do parents have a say in the running of their children’s school?Definitely; national policy on state schools requires that the school governing body (SGB) – made up of management, teachers, learners (at high school) and parents (51%) – plays a large part in how the school is run, within a national framework.Dynamic SGBs capable of raising funds and offering diverse skills to their schools have managed to turn them into thriving centres of excellence. On the downside, where parents are uneducated and poor, the SGBs are hamstrung from the start. Also, many children go to school miles from home, making it difficult for parents to get involved.At private schools, parental involvement depends largely on the nature of the school.Are school uniforms compulsory?Yes; they are compulsory in all state schools and most private schools.Are children allowed to wear religious dress to school?In terms of the Constitution, learners may not be prohibited from wearing particular attire – such as yarmulkes and headscarves – to school. Schools are encouraged to have uniform policies that accommodate learners’ religious beliefs.How long are the school holidays?State schools follow the four-term system, while most private schools have three longer terms. At state schools, students are on holiday for two to three weeks between each term (except after the third term, when the break is usually 10 days) and for about five weeks in December and January, at the end of the school year.At private schools, the holidays are usually about a month between each of the three school terms, with a longer holiday, also usually about five weeks, at the end of the year.Download the public school calendar from the learners page on the Department of Basic Education’s website.Can I home school in South Africa?There’s a growing trend worldwide towards home schooling and South Africa is no exception, with thousands of families opting to home school their children, for a variety of reasons. Some parents are keen to give their children religious or individualised tuition which they won’t receive at school; others want to avoid the institutional nature of school life.For those who wish to send their children to private schools but cannot afford to, home schooling is a cheaper alternative. Several home schooling associations are on hand to help those who choose to go this route.Although home schooling is legal in South Africa, it is not actively encouraged by the government: permission must first be sought from provincial authorities, and various requirements must be met, such as the provision of a weekly timetable and a learning programme.See the Department of Basic Education website for details on home schooling requirements.Useful documentsFollow these links to download the following documents:The South African Schools Acts (1996)The Rights and Responsibilities of Parents, Learners and Public Schools (2005)The Education Rights Project has a range of online information regarding the rights of students and parents, from school fees to admissions, HIV/Aids, teenage pregnancy and more.Updated October 2015Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games MOST READ Archers survive Tams’ final rally The Cavaliers had hoped to have James play alongside newcomers Derrick Wade, Dwyane Wade and Jae Crowder with Kevin Love shifted from forward to center in what figures to be a formidable lineup should they be able to work cohesively.“It’s a challenge when you’ve got a new team and you want to incorporate stuff,” Lue said.“Do we wish we had a little more time with him in the pre-season? Yes. But we have to make do with what we have.” /cbb Read Next Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary The 32-year-old playmaker, who led the Cavs to their first NBA crown in 2016, missed most pre-season workouts and three pre-season contests with a left ankle sprain suffered on September 27.Lue said: “(James is) pretty mad, pretty pissed off. But I mean, it is what it is.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutJames has not missed a season-opener in 14 NBA campaigns, but Lue hesitated when asked about his availability against Boston next week.“(James) got treatment all day today, so I’m not sure if we should be concerned or not,” Lue said. “But it’s pretty sore today so we’ll just see what happens.” Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after suffering an injury against the Boston Celtics at the TD Banknorth Garden on February 27, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts. LeBron may miss the Cavs’ opener with the Celtics due to a sprained left ankle, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017. AFP Washington, United States — Four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James will not play in Cleveland’s last pre-season game and is questionable for Tuesday’s season opener against Boston, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said on Wednesday.James awoke with a sore left ankle after scoring 17 points in his first pre-season appearance, a 108-94 loss to Chicago, and Lue declared he would not practice on Thursday or play on Friday in the exhibition against Orlando.ADVERTISEMENT Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa J.R. Smith will start for James on Friday with Jose Calderon moving into the lineup, Lue said.James said after the pre-season loss to Chicago that the game was a test to see how his ankle was recovering from the injury.“I’m pushing through it right now,” James said. “I just wanted to try and test my foot, test my ankle to see how I would come out.“I definitely wanted to test it knowing that at least if I tested it tonight I have a week until the regular season started if I don’t play in the game on Friday.”James averaged 26.4 points and career highs of 8.6 rebounds and 8.7 assists last season as the Cavaliers reached the NBA Finals, losing to Golden State. It was the seventh consecutive trip to the finals and eighth overall for James.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight View comments
Kin of Misamis Oriental hero cop to get death benefits, award — PNP Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH LATEST STORIES CEU’s Ebondo to backstop Congo in African qualifiers MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games View comments There, the 25-year-old thrived as he learned from premier playmaker Jayson Castro and the rest of the veteran TNT core en route to them leading the squad to three semifinals appearances this season and a runner-up finish in the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup.Wrapping up his a successful first year in the pros, Pogoy thinks the award is a testament of the effort he put in under Racela.“This is the result of my hardwork because every practice, I always do extra work,” he said.But Pogoy remains unsatisfied as he hopes to receive a trophy the whole team could be proud of.“I know I still have lots to work on. This Rookie of the Year award is just a bonus. What’s important is to be a champion and that’s really my goal,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT But fate works in mysterious ways and Pogoy found himself back with a familiar face in Nash Racela, who is now calling the shots for TNT.Fast forward to today, and the 6-foot-2 swingman is still in disbelief with what he has achieved in his first year in the pros as he won the Rookie of the Year honors this season.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“It’s indescribable. I feel nervous and I don’t know what to feel. I really can’t put to words what I feel right now. In my mind, it’s all a dream,” he said after receiving his trophy in the 2017 Leo Awards on Friday.Pogoy seamlessly blended in with the KaTropa’s rotation, with Racela immediately thrusting him to the starting small forward spot. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netFrom the very beginning, Roger Pogoy never expected that he would make a big impact compared to his contemporaries in Far Eastern University.Playing third fiddle to the likes of Mac Belo and Mike Tolomia, the Cebuano shooter has always just been regarded as a valuable role player.ADVERTISEMENT QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion
Several months ago, Hot Takedown crowdsourced ideas from listeners about how to change the draft to stop teams from tanking. After we sent him the winning idea, Silver wrote that there is a “growing consensus that we should reform the draft lottery.” But on this week’s Hot Takedown he said that after team owners voted down a proposal for change last year, the league has decided to “park the issue” for the foreseeable future.Silver argued that the marketplace is providing the biggest pressure on teams like Philadelphia, which he said are realizing that “losing comes at an enormous cost.” Silver sees a “resetting of sorts” with the team. And he denied that he intervened and asked the Sixers to install Jerry Colangelo as special advisor.Watch a video excerpt and stream the full audio of the interview above. We’ve also provided a lightly edited transcription of the highlights below. This interview was conducted Friday, Dec. 18.Silver not a fan of Sixers strategyNeil Paine: Are you personally, as the commissioner, OK with the way that the 76ers have run their franchise the past three seasons?Adam Silver: I don’t want to answer that directly. As I said, there’s a marketplace of ideas and approaches that go into managing a franchise.Am I fan of that strategy? Put it this way: No. But does that mean that it’s not acceptable under the league rules? It doesn’t. Hot Takedown More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. The Sixers are a mess, and Adam Silver is not happy. The NBA commissioner joined our sports podcast, Hot Takedown, for a conversation about the structure of the draft, the perverse incentives that it creates and how his office can try to “cajole” teams like the Philadelphia 76ers into being more competitive. But he admitted that ultimately, he may not be able to reset the competitive balance of the league by tweaking the draft rules. The Sixers are “resetting”Adam Silver: There’s a resetting of sorts going on with the 76ers right now. And I think that ultimately may speak louder in the marketplace of teams than any tinkering we do to the draft lottery.Is it time to step in and stop tanking?Chadwick Matlin: I’m interested about when you do step in as a commissioner. You’re basically the CEO of a big multibillion-dollar corporation. At what point is it your responsibility to intervene if one of your franchises is not performing in a way that represents the league?Adam Silver: Well, I would say that there’s lots of different ways of so-called “stepping in.” There’s also cajoling and ongoing conversations that I have with owners, with team presidents, with general managers, where I’m expressing my opinion. Truth to rumors that he intervened with Sixers?Chadwick Matlin: Anonymous reports suggested that [you stepped in and pushed for the hiring of Jerry Colangelo] due to owners who wanted the situation in Philadelphia changed. Are those reports correct?Adam Silver: Those reports are not correct. Josh Harris, who’s the principal owner of the 76ers, decided on his own that he needed to change course. He and I had many conversations along the way about the utility of the strategy that he was following. And he came to the conclusion once this season began, and he saw how his team was performing on the floor, that he needed to change his strategy.Other owners were not pressuring him at all. In fact, it’s a weird dynamic in the league that while all the owners would like to see teams well operated, other owners just want to win (laughter). And so nobody was calling me and saying go call the 76ers and tell them how to beat us.
The Big Ten relinquished a 3-0 lead in the Challenge early Tuesday night, and eventually needed OSU’s victory to finalize the Big Ten’s first win in 11 tries. Turner said it has been frustrating to constantly hear about ACC’s dominance over the Big Ten and the rest of the country. In the second half it was all OSU. The Buckeyes forced FSU to play fast with their smaller lineup and pushed a lead to more than 20. Florida State fought back within two, but that was the closest the Seminoles would come all night. OSU opened its lead back up to 11 at halftime with key shots and strong defense. “That’s a championship right there. It’s huge,” Turner said jokingly about the win. “You can’t say this is the biggest night of our lives, [though]. We’ve had some pretty big nights.” The game played out the same way the Big Ten/ACC Challenge had early on. Like the rest of the Big Ten, OSU garnered an early lead, but just as its conference had done, the Bucks left the door open. But when in doubt, the Buckeyes and their conference pulled it out. Junior Jon Diebler used guard Evan Turner’s penetration to set up big shots for three. He knocked down six of 12, scoring 22 on the night. Turner again set the pace for OSU, immediately penetrating and scoring within seconds of the tip-off. Effective penetration to the basket is something Turner excels at even though he was unable to utilize in OSU’s only loss of the season, to North Carolina. “Our penetration and our shooters were really amazing tonight and we really complement each other well,” Turner said. “That was key for us.” His 25 points on 10-17 shooting led the Buckeyes. He also added 13 rebounds and five assists. The Ohio State men’s basketball team triumphed over Florida State, 77-64, Wednesday in the final game of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.The Buckeyes put the final nail in the ACC’s coffin, giving the Big Ten the deciding win and its first ever victory in the Challenge’s 11-year history. Turner joked earlier in the week that if the Challenge was tied at five games apiece, a victory would call for confetti and cutting down the nets. No nets were removed after Big Ten’s first ever win over the ACC, but a ton of pressure finally was.
The Ohio State men’s and women’s track and field teams participated in the Buckeye Tune-up Friday at OSU’s French Field House, their final meet prior to the Big Ten Indoor Championship meet.OSU athletes won seven of the 17 individual events contested for each gender. The men’s and women’s teams each had a two-event winner. Redshirt senior distance runner Adam Green took first place in the men’s mile run with a time of 4:11.25, and followed that with a winning time of 8:28.33 in the 3,000-meter run. On the women’s side, senior sprinter Christina Manning finished first in the 60-meter dash in 7.28 seconds, then won the 60-meter hurdles in 8.11 seconds.In addition to the event winners, two OSU athletes met automatic qualifying standards for the NCAA Division I Championship in the weight throw. Redshirt senior Matt DeChant met the mark with a throw of 70 feet, 9 1/4 inches, while fellow senior Max Mays also qualified with a throw of 70 feet, 7 inches. Ashland University’s senior Ryan Loughney won the men’s weight throw with a throw of 71 feet, 4 inches.While the Buckeye Tune-up served as a venue for some of the OSU athletes to perform, others rested this week in preparation for the Big Ten Indoor Championships.“Some people needed rest and some people need work,” said Karen Dennis, coach of the women’s team. “(Some athletes were) really getting geared up emotionally for Big Tens next weekend.”Although he won two events, Green said the meet “was more of a training day.”Heading into the conference championship meet, there is certainly pressure on the women’s track and field team, as they are the defending champions of the Big Ten Indoor Championship. Two women’s athletes also have individual conference titles to defend — Manning was last year’s Big Ten champion in the 60-meter hurdles, while senior sprinter Madison McNary took first place in the 60-meter dash.“As defending champions, we want to go defend our title, but we are also realistic in knowing that we have to expect people to want to bump us off,” Dennis said. “Sprinters and hurdlers all have to make it back to the finals.”The men’s track and field team finished fifth at last year’s Big Ten Indoor Championships, but their sights are set on greater accomplishments in 2012.Redshirt junior Heath Nickles, who cleared a height of 16 feet, 11 1/2 inches and won the Buckeye Tune-up pole vault, said the team is in it to win it.“We won’t accept anything else,” he said.Nickles said his individual goals for this weekend are to win the heptathlon and pole vault, stressing the importance of scoring 10 points for the team in each event.Coach Robert Gary said Nebraska is the team to beat in the Big Ten. He said he believes in his team’s chances to win, because the team “doesn’t bring anybody to the Big Ten meet just to get the experience of getting their butts kicked.”Senior sprinter Thomas Murdaugh and redshirt junior distance runner Cory Leslie did not compete in Friday’s meet, but will be crucial to the team’s success this weekend. Murdaugh will be attempting to defend his conference title from last year in the 400-meter dash. Leslie finished fourth in the mile run at last year’s meet, but he has been running faster times this season, including a mile time of 3:56.85 at the Penn State National Invitational which not only set a school record, but also met the mark to automatically qualify for the NCAA Division I Championship meet.The quest to bring the Big Ten Indoor Championships title back to OSU begins Feb. 24, in Lincoln, Neb. The meet concludes Saturday.