20 October 2011

Games and sports in schools

In some of my earlier posts, I had mentioned about games and sports scenario in our K-12 schools.

This evening there was a very interesting panel discussion on `NDTV Hindu' TV Channel involving a parent, a student, vice principal of a well known international school in the city (Chennai) and Sanjay Pinto, the moderator. [I have always liked Sanjay's programmes].

The discussion centered on the `importance' attached to games and sports in schools. The parent thought that sports was not given enough recognition in schools. (I think that she stands out from most parents who think that it is okay if their children don't play games or take part in sports as long as they get very good `marks', enter IITs and become `computer engineers'. Growing number of coaching classes and private tuitions in our cities and towns are a testimony  to this sorry state of afffairs. I wonder as to whether the herd mentality of parents on this issue can be changed). The student, the most important stakeholder in education, too felt that there should be more emphasis on sports in the school time table. He was very right. I appreciate his straight forward statement.

What surprised me was the vice-principal's view point: He said that in his school, they do give importance to sports at `2 hours per week'. I don't think that this time duration is adequate. Moreover, it is against statutory requirements of our Departments of School Education and School Affiliation Boards such as the CBSE.

Whenever there was a pressure from my management to reduce the sports time and allocate the time saved thus for `English' or `Maths' periods, I always refused to accept the proposal, by convincing the management as to why I did so, though the process would usually take time. The pleasure which teachers derive when children are active in sports and games is inexplainable. I have also derived such pleasure, by watching children play. Following photographs show my children when I worked in Poorna Prajna High School in Yelahanka, Bangalore in 1997:

The TV programme brought in very interesting but uncomfortable facts. From a survery conducted in 73 schools, it was found that 43% of students display no interest in games and sports and 61% are physically unfit due to lack of games and sports.

It is no wonder that youngsters in their 20's get cardiac and other problems.

I simply don't understand as to how Government Departments of School Education and affiliation boards can allow schools to flout norms.

I think that outdoor games and sports should be made mandatory at all K-12 schools.

From R to L: Dr Jacob D Raj, Chief guest, Dr Daisy Dharmaraj and I at Green Valley Schools Sports Fest Inaugural  


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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.