Uttar Pradesh primary education minister Sandeep Singh elucidated how the National Education Policy takes care of a child’s all-around education in India.
“Sport plays an important role in a child’s overall growth. We have almost 12,000-plus sports teachers, who are specially trained in their respective disciplines. Sports need to be given equal importance as other academic subjects. Now parents are also looking to have their children participate in a sport besides wanting their sons and daughters to get good grades in academic subjects,” he said at Sportstar’s first-ever North Sports Conclave in Lucknow on Thursday.
Sandeep also said UP has started working with school drop-outs. “We have traced around 4 lakh ‘out of school’ students. Now we work together with them to develop better ways to educate and develop the sports ecosystem.”
He also added, “1,30,000 primary schools now have better sports equipment and playground. Not huge playgrounds, yes, but at least a small one. That’s again because after class eight you don’t require a big playground. You directly shift to stadiums after, if you are pursuing sport.”
Tahsin Zahid, who is the CEO of Sports, Physical Education, Fitness & Leisure (SPEFL) at the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) weighed in on how it is difficult to convince the Indian parent of the importance of sports until you bring it under a marking system. “Till the time something is not converted into marks, then, unfortunately, it becomes difficult to convince a parent. When Physical Education came under the marking system, everybody started taking it up more.”
He added, “The vision of our Hon’ble PM of winning 50 medals in the Olympics won’t become a reality until we start supporting young talent.
Zahid also requested Sandeep to include sports as a marked subject in the curriculum. “Please let’s make it a subject out of 50 or 100 and not lettered grades. People relate to figures more. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Khelo India, Fit India are driving a change, but yes, it is gradual.”
Sudhanshu Fadnis, chief executive officer of Sportseed, noted there are four elements which acquire utmost importance when it comes to adopting sports as an integral part of the school curriculum. “There are four elements which can be the game-changers in schools - equipment, infrastructure, a PE trainer or sports trainer, and the fourth often-missing element, a structured curriculum.”
The Hindu Sportstar North Conclave presents a series of carefully curated conversations with top sportspersons and sport industry experts on revolutionising the sports ecosystem in Uttar Pradesh. The dialogues will offer a rare insight into the lives of the sports stars and help find ways to ignite the nation’s Olympic dream.
The Conclave was held in association with Hero We Care, a Hero Motocorp CSR Initiative, K.J. Somaiya Institute of Management, Indian Oil, Shiv Naresh, Life Insurance Corporation of India, NewsX and KSG.
Readers can follow the event live on the Sportstar website sportstar.thehindu.com.