After suffering a crushing defeat in the Champions Cup final against arch rival Pakistan on 18th June 2017, the Indian men’s cricket captain, Virat Kohli said, “I want to congratulate Pakistan. They had an amazing tournament, the way they turned things around, speaks volumes for the talent they have. They proved it again, they can upset anyone on their day’. No other discipline can teach us the humility to appreciate, and character to celebrate, the victory of opposition, immediately after landing a thrashing defeat at their hands. Sports teaches us the highest quality of graciousness. Sports Education also inculcates in us the true qualities of a leader, the skill of working in teams, and of giving our best. These are the values that we need to inculcate most, in the ever so fragmented and fractured world that we live in, where the threads of society are coming loose at the seams, and humans are becoming ever more isolated. And yet, unfortunately, sports continues to remain an ‘extra’-curricular activity in schools.
Physical Education Vs. Sports
Some argue that, all schools offer sports through physical education classes, and there are dedicated periods every week for children to attend sports classes. Unfortunately, such lip service has probably done more harm than good. The reality is that today, teachers who join as coaches in schools, are lowest in faculty hierarchy, and often themselves reflect that very same attitude. More often than not, they rarely concentrate on the development of sports within schools. The school system offers little incentive for excelling in sports, and seldom offers rewarding careers and opportunities for excellence in sports. Categorized as an ‘extra-curricular’ activity, sports unfortunately has remained precisely that; an ‘extra’ burden on students and teachers alike. There are no rewards offered for excellence in sports, similar to those in academic subjects, besides no extra effort is made in honing skills of students who display talent and potential. On the contrary, students, especially in higher classes, are often reprimanded for ‘wasting’ time on sports. This deeply influences young minds, and the belief that sports is a distraction, gets ingrained.
A quick glance at the availability and quality of sports infrastructure in schools, will immediately reflect the second-rate treatment given to sports. Most schools have nothing to offer – whether it is a field, courts or nets etc. Even in the best schools in the capital of the country – Delhi, very few schools can boast of such infrastructure. The quality of whatever little sports infrastructure is available reflects the scant attention of the school management. For sports to receive its well-deserved status as an equal to academic subjects at school, it must be introduced as part of core curriculum.
What would it take?
What does ‘elevating’ sports from its ‘extra-curricular’ status into the core curriculum entail? It would mean that sports would begin to be evaluated, and student performance assessed, similar to academic subjects. This will elevate the status of sports as a core discipline, and attract equally dedicated sports teachers. Infrastructure and sports equipment will begin to become available, and their quality would be maintained. For sure, such elevation of sports in core curriculum will improve student performance in other subjects too. A healthy mind, after all, resides in a healthy body.
Our BSC Young Star (Category B) Finalist, Ashutosh Verma, is 16 years old. He is currently in the 11th Grade in Springdales School, Dhaula Kuan, New Delhi. Ashutosh loves debating, writing and playing tennis. His dream is to work at Google one day. His inspirations – Rafael Nadal and Elon Musk.
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