Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sports made must for all students in government schools

Every student attending a government school will have to participate in at least one sport. The directorate of education also requires every school to form teams for at least two sports, participate in zonal tournaments and promote "laughter therapy... during intervening periods." DoE wants sports to become an integral part of school-life and has announced a number of measures to make that happen. At the same time, taking a lesson from the October 2013 accident -an 11-year-old boy was killed by a javelin on school premises-the education department has reworked its policies on sports and formulated a comprehensive set of safety guidelines.

"We learnt a lot from the javelin incident," says Pradeep Tayal, assistant director of education (sports), "The safety guidelines cover not only the practices sessions in schools but also tournaments and competitions. There are guidelines also for those using swimming pools." According to the safety guidelines, "dangerous equipment" including javelins, discuses and archery arrows are to be "kept under lock and key". For tournaments, there should be "a four-wheeler with a driver available...The gate and passage should be kept clear for the vehicle in case of an emergency."

Padmini Singla, director (education), explains that in addition to issuing guidelines, the department is also launching a bunch of measures to encourage greater participation from students in sports. As per records of School Games Federation of India, Delhi has the highest tally of medals (1,429) as well as the highest number of gold medals (347), Maharashtra, which is in second place, is way behind with 188 gold medals. Children studying in private schools would've contributed to the medal tally too.

The rules of the game too are constantly evolving. "Hockey is no longer played in two halves of 35 minutes each, but in four quarters of 15 minutes. Teachers can't train teams if they themselves don't know the rules," says Tayal. To bring them up to speed, DoE is holding five-day refresher courses from May 2. The seminars will also cover nutrition, latest technologies and measures to control doping. The department is also holding a tournament for teachers from April 25-about 2,000 teachers and 400 yoga teachers will participate.

Participation has been made compulsory through a circular issued on April 4. Schools with football grounds are being encouraged to form teams to participate in the 55th Subroto Cup International Football Tournament in 2014-the under-14 teams will be eligible to try for the Under-17 World Cup to be held in India in 2017. "About 20% schools have football grounds," says Tayal, "Even if five good teams emerge, it's not a bad show." Nutrition matters will be addressed at the seminar.

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