Why have schools become just academic centers? Why is that we care more about academics? Why is that most of us when we go for school meetings or on report days, do we just end up meeting the core subject teachers and skip/ keep meeting the PE teacher the last. I don’t have to spell out the answer but it is obvious we are not giving the due importance to sports.
When it comes to choosing a school we do check if the school has a big ground on high priority, in fact the sports ground becomes the deciding factor. But once the child is in the school, sports inadvertently take a back seat and we get more interested in his academic performance.
Of course there are various reasons why this is happening and some of them could be
On the school front
- Schools offering sports activities and a sizeable sports ground, many a times charge high fees and hence only the elite can afford.
- Our education system and our curriculum give more importance to academics.
- The class sizes are ever increasing so the sports teacher finds it difficult to manage his class or motivate individual students into being good sports men.
- This leads to lack of interest amongst students.
- Sports gear is not well maintained.
- Our curriculum/ board allocates just about minimum sports periods.
- The games period duration is small, so not much can be done in it.
- There are discipline issues which have to be dealt with firmly and sensitively to maintain a good teacher student rapport.
- If not it leads to the unpopularity of the games teacher leading to lack of interest on the students part.
- As exams approach there are chances that the sports period is sacrificed.
- As a disciplinary action for students not doing their home work they are penalised by asking students to miss out their favourite sports class.
- This has a huge negative impact by which students start to undermine the importance of sports.
- It’s sad that many a times students don’t mind missing the sports period as they are any ways not interested in it due to one of the above reasons.
- They give priority to academics blaming the Indian system of education.
- They are also under the fear that if a child is weak academically he/she loses confidence and hence could feel humiliated.
- Lack of confidence leads to lack of interest and there are chances of entering the vicious cycle.
- Pressure from the society for faring well in exams
- Undue importance given to grades.
- Exam anxiety leading to curtailing of playing time.
- A child with A+ grade is more applauded than a good sportsman.
- Lacking behind in a core subject especially one like math could have further repercussions and hence more importance given to it rather than any other activity.
- Lack of awareness amongst parents about the fact that it has been scientifically proven that exercise/sports improve memory, quick thinking, reaction time and quick responses.
- General consensus of going with the flow.
All of the above points invariable end up giving a wrong message to the students about the lack of importance given to sports and hence they develop a similar attitude. But this can have long standing repercussions on the child’s health and his holistic growth.
Why do we fail to realize the following?
- Only a healthy body can house a healthy mind.
- All work and no play will make our kids dull.
- Sports other than keeping us healthy instil many values like team spirit and fair play.
- They also help in handling real time situations of winning and losing.
- If our students can handle a losing situation, what more do we want? Isn’t that the most important lesson of life to take all situations in our stride and move on?
- As a soft skills facilitator and a trainer I can vouch that most games instil soft skills in the players. Many of us trainers include games in our sessions to inculcate soft skills amongst the participants.
Let me end by applauding schools that are already doing a great job on this front. It truly is bliss to see the students enjoying a good team game and also attending after school sports activities which the school provides. This goes a long way in reducing the stress of attending after school private sports coaching classes, on both the parent and the child.
For this to happen in every other school, a joint effort from the school management, teachers and parents will be needed. More than anything it is our attitude that needs to be changed. It is every child’s dream and in fact his fundamental right to enjoy full fledged sports activities.
Asst. Prof. Trupti Jadhav