07 September 2011

Encouraging sports in our schools

Two news items in this morning's newspaper caught my attention. The first one about India's defeating South Korea in the Asian Trophy match and the other one about Ms Jayalalitha's announcement of a proposed Centre of Excellence in Sports for school students in the 10-14 age range.

I remember my own school days, nearly 5 decades back, when school children used to play football, khabhadi, etc. in addition to cricket.

My father was a great sportsman during his college days. He used to tell us about the importance of sports. He insisted that I join the then ACC (Auxiliary Cadet Corps), which I did. ACC was an integral part of the school sports curriculum in those days. As a popular headmaster he used to get `District sports' organised in whichever school he worked.

My father (seen at extreme right in the photo) supervising some children running `sack' race in his school
It was a pleasure for us to spend three full days in the school playground and watching children from different schools perform.

Later when I was in college, I used to  play cricket. Whenever I batted, there used to be runner who used to run for me, as I could not run fast due to my polio in the right leg. However, I was popular as a left arm spinner. Table tennis and chess were two  other games in which I used to actively participate. 

My father, known to be a man of high self-esteem, continued playing lawn tennis regularly until he was 65. As he used to say, my mother was of great support to him in all his achievements.

When I worked as a school principal, I had always encouraged children, particularly girls and those from poor parental backgrounds to  excel in academics as well as in sports. I had always insisted that girls should be coached only by female teachers, for obvious reasons.

I had the pleasure of motivating my collegues into playing the above mentioned games as well as intellectually stimulating games such as SCRABBLES. Pleasure of playing good games had a cascading effect and fostered team spirit.

I think that our K-12 high schools can be centres of excellence in sports if school managements have the will and principals have parental passion.

Let me end this post by posting a few photographs to illustrate how my students enjoyed games and sports when I worked at Poorna Prajna High School in Yelahanka,  Bangalore, in 1997.

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About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a retired K-12 Education Management Professional. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.