Sports Ministry to include sports in the school curriculum with effects from 2018. This move of the government follows India’s dismal performance at the Rio Olympics in October 2016, after which Sports Minister Vijay Goel said that “sports is needed to be promoted in educational institutions”. The ministry is planning to mark students on their involvement in the various sports activities in the school and like other subjects, students will have to pass in sports also. According to a senior official, the proposal is its ‘finishing stage’. The proposal will take place in different phases, and will start with Class 1 and then subsequently in the higher classes.
The Indian Government looking for ways to make sports compulsory at school level. “Accepting the recommendation is easy, but implementing it is the challenge. The policy would be path-breaking, and will be the base of a foundationThere’s no issue of a Bill being passed (to implement the policy) either. Central Board of Secondary Education can take a decision and other state boards can accept it, like the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan”, sports secretary Injeti Srinivas said.
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“Once sport is made part of the curriculum, imparting it will be a challenge. Playing field, equipment and coaches issue will be there. That is something we are working on, it will be the base of a foundation,” Srinivas said. “There are about five and a half lakh physical education teachers. The concept of physical education needs to change and they need to double as sports coaches. At an elementary level, a coach can handle 4-5 disciplines. Individual sports will be more difficult. We would need to focus on team sports like football and volleyball and indigenous sports like kabaddi.”
The government is working on the nitty-gritties of the policy for its smooth implementation. According to a report in the Indian Express, the sports secretary also said, “There is a no-detention policy until Class 8, but after that you will have to pass in sports also. We need to work out the details. Suddenly, it can’t be made compulsory in Class 12. I think it will be a non-grading thing for the higher classes. Starting next year, it will be compulsory for Class 1 and so on. The benefit will be seen in the next 8-10 years.” The ministry acknowledges that the lack of proper infrastructure is will pose a major hurdle in the implementation of the sports policy at school level.