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sports education 2017-08-10

Physical Education and Sports Make Inroads in India’s Schools

Whether it be high performance sports at the Olympics or the development of sports locally, sports education is becoming increasingly important in the modern world.

By Reetika Bose Feature Writer

The importance of physical education has never been emphasised more than it is today. It is widely recognised that physical education and sports are relevant and important in developing an active and healthy lifestyle and the solution to rising obesity rate worldwide. Although in most countries, physical education is part of the school curriculum. The lessons are not given, leading to a reduced experience of physical activity for children and youth. The practice of a physically active lifestyle in combination with healthy nutrition needs to be started in early childhood.

Quality Physical Education is the most effective and inclusive means of providing all children, whatever their ability/disability, sex, age, cultural, race/ethnicity, religious or social background, with the skills, attitudes, values, knowledge and understanding for lifelong participation in physical activity and sport and is the only school subject whose primary focus is on the body, physical activity, physical development and health.

There are several areas of continuing concern regarding current trends in PE and sports. These area embrace:

  • Inappropriate allocation and use of budget- The budgetary allocation for sports, which comes under the Union Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, is not as much as compared to the countries that excel in the Olympics and other International sports events.
  • Lack of qualified coaches- Coach training programmes are not encouraged in India, as a result schools lack trained coaches. Inadequate provision of facilities and equipment and teaching materials, large class sizes.
  • Lack of Investment by schools as well as by parents for excellence in sports-Generally in India, sports are not considered as profession and so school authorities and parents step back when it comes to investment in sports for the children.

Where does the problem lie?

Generally in India, sports are not considered as profession, and hence investment by schools as well as by parents for excellence in sports is limited. Though today’s education system has made sports education a compulsory subject, in practice it is yet to get the seriousness and importance

It is noted that the amount of time dedicated to physical education has been diminished in the school curriculum throughout the world. Physical educators have failed to ensure that the linkage between their efforts in the classroom and the health and cognitive development of their students. The responsibility rests directly on the shoulders of physical educators to ensure that the importance of their subject matter is understood and embraced as a part of their schools’ overall curriculum.

Today, more than ever, the physical education curriculum needs to be linked to the overall well-being of children and youth as they matriculate through the curriculum. As has been noted, lessons learned at an early age carry into adult life. Furthermore, the importance of physical activity as a way of creating greater attentiveness in the classroom has not been recognized. The opportunity for schools to provide Brain Breaks, which stimulate students and reenergize their efforts, has largely been ignored in the overall curriculum.

Encouraging Sports Education in schools

Schools in India are gradually beginning to realise the importance of sports in the overall development of children, and how vital it is to encourage them to take up sports. The growing awareness of how sports contribute to the growth of children in terms of life skills, has led parents and school authorities to encourage children to take up sports, whereas previously the focus was entirely on academics. The realisation that sports help in the development of team work, trust, sharing responsibilities and working together towards a common goal has led to a spurt in the sports activities in schools.

Role of Technology

The present generation seems to be lost without the presence of high end technology which was actually unheard few decades ago. Students today, are familiar with mobile phones, wireless high speed, internet connections, data connections etc.

Implications of the changes need to be addressed:

  • The implications of such dramatic changes in access to technology among children and youth should be self-evident in all learning areas.
  • Applications in health and physical education pedagogy are available and can be applied to enrich and enhance curricular offerings in most school settings.
  • Numerous technological applications focused on promoting physical activity and fitness is available and easily accessible.
  • Application of various technologies will require new student and teacher competencies and practices. Students will be required to demonstrate competency in basic motor skills and also competence in using technology.

Opportunities in the sports sector

  • Developing an ecosystem for the growth of sports.
  • Research and knowledge development and State Industry engagements.
  • Quality Sports education, developing center of excellence and promoting sports as a full time career.
  • Efficient Sports event organization, marketing and management.
  • Strengthening and professionalizing the Sports Federation.
  • Talent scouting and management at the grassroots level.
  • World class sports infrastructure development

Experts speak

Mr. Raunak Jain, Managing Director of Tula's International School, expressed his views on the ongoing scenario of Sports Education in India.

“Sports education has always taken a back seat in India. It has been an ignored subject or an extra one which students take lightly. The problem here is both sides. To begin with, schools do not take sports at education very seriously while on the other hand even parents do not appreciate their students making sports their career.

In India, you can find a detailed curriculum for every course at beginners’ level but sports.

The need of the hour is for the government and sports industry to come together and strategize in making sports a career choice.”

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