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Introduction: Sports in India Since Independence – Policies and Issues

Physical education is an important yardstick and also an integral part of education in any country at any point of time. Realizing that, within a year after independence, the Government of India established a committee in 1948 known as the Tara Chand Committee to improve the status of physical education in the country.  Based on the report of the committee, a Central Advisory Board of Physical Education and Recreation was set up in the year 1950 to advise the government on various issues relating to physical  education. The Kothari Commission Report on Education in 1965 stressed the need for compulsory physical education both in schools and colleges.

The Government of India introduced various acts, bills, institutes, councils and committees to encourage sports in the country, like the All India Council of Sports in 1954, the National Institute of Physical Education, Gwalior[1]in 1957, the National Institute of Sport, Patiala in 1961, the National Sports Policy in 1980 and 1984, and the National Sports Development Bill in 2011, to name a few.[2] To encourage people in sports, various awards at national level have been declared, like the Arjuna Award (1961)[3] for not only showing outstanding performance but also qualities of leadership, sportsmanship and a sense of discipline, Dhyan Chand Award (2002) for Lifetime Achievement in Sports and Games, the Dronacharya Award (1985) to honour eminent Coaches, and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award for outstanding performance. In 1982, the Government of India established the Department of Sports, just before the IXth Asian Games in New Delhi. Its name was changed to the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports during the celebration of the International Youth Year in 1985. It became a Ministry on 27th May 2000. Subsequently, the Ministry has been bifurcated into the Department of Youth Affairs and the Department of Sports under two separate Secretaries w.e.f. 30th April 2008.[4]

Promotion of sports is primarily the responsibility of the various National Sports Federations which are autonomous in nature. The role of the Government is to create the infrastructure and promote capacity building for broad-basing sports as well as for achieving excellence in various competitive events at the national and

GRAAM is implementing Sugamya Shiksha, a comprehensive school development program, in 10 government schools from three districts of Karnataka. Nine different projects are integrated under the programme for the overall development of the students including education, sports, life-skills, computers, communication, health and community. ‘Jocky Fit for Children’ is one of the projects in the programme, which envisions to strengthen the sporting spirit of the children and also to support the progress of talented children in various sports.

international levels. Various schemes introduced by the Government are geared towards achieving these objectives.

In spite of so many schemes, committees and policies, the performance of the country with 1.3 billion people (the second largest in the world) remained poor at international fora. So far, India has won only 28 medals in the 24 Olympic Games that it has participated in since 1900. Of these, nine were gold, six silver, and 11 were bronze. In the last Olympics at Rio, India managed to win only two medals – none of them gold.[5] Therefore, it is important to understand: where does the problem lie?

Generally, in India, sports is not considered a profession, and hence investment by schools as well as by parents for excellence in sports is limited. Though today’s education system has made sports education a compulsory subject, in practice, it is yet to get the seriousness and importance that it deserves. GRAAM’s field-based experience[6] has also shown that the games periods are usually given to subject teachers to complete their course after the month of November. Also, many studies have noted that the amount of time dedicated to physical education has diminished in the school curriculum.

Another major problem is the lack of qualified sports teachers in schools. In Karnataka, any person who has done a one-year course in Certificate in Physical Education[7] can apply for the position of physical education teacher in government schools. Therefore, poor quality of physical education teachers (mostly), without any interest towards their own subject, along with the inadequate provision of facilities, equipments and teaching materials, are continuously degrading the results of physical education in the schools of India. On the other hand, the budgetary allocation for sports, which comes under the Union Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, is not much as compared to the countries that excel in the Olympics and other International sports events.

Sugamya Shikha’s Kreedotsava (Sports Day): Promoting Participation in Sports

Whatever the scenario, the streets and available playgrounds of India are full of children playing different sports, mostly cricket. Thus, it can never be said that the children of the country don’t have an interest in sports. It is just that they are not getting proper facilities and encouragement from their homes as well as from other fronts. Therefore, when the Sugamya Shiksha team organized the inter school Kreedotsava

Status of Sports in Programme Schools

Out of three, only two schools have  sports teachers. One of the teachers among them tries his best to promote sports amongst his students, but due to regular pressure from the school administration and parents, he has to give away many of his classes to subject teachers, especially for Std 10th students. Lack of sports items with the school also hinders the teacher from teaching or evoking interest in various sports among students.

 (Sports day) with the Education Department of Karnataka and Page Industries at the District level (limited to Sugamya Shiksha schools only),[8] the enthusiasm of the students was immeasurable.

Sugamya Shiksha Kreedotsava[9] for Bangalore-based schools was organized on November 16, 2017 in the playground of Government High School, Begur, where more than 175 students from three programme schools – Government Higher Primary School, Kodichikkenahalli, Government High School, Begur, and Government Model Primary School, Kudlu – participated. Block Education Officer (BEO) Mr. Ramesh Aiah KL, Local Corporator Mr. Anjanappa, and Sub-Inspector Mr. Janardhan from Begur Police Station were the invited guests for the day. Other than them, the principals, teachers, honorable presidents and members of SDMCs[10] from the respective schools, parents and students along with GRAAM’s staff also participated to encourage the sports persons.

Prior to the Kreedotsava, two sports teachers had been hired under the Sugamya Sikhsa programme. These teachers had not only trained the participating students in various games, but had also taught them the rules of the games. All the schools have also provided extra time to students to improve their sports skills. The environment during the practice period (one week ahead of the Kreedotsava) in the school was fully charged with the loud but joyful echoes of children.

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Kreedotsava started with a ‘Parade of Schools’, where the participating students marched into the ground holding the placard of their school on the tune of a band played by the school children. After that, the principal of Government High School, Begur along with other distinguished guests lit the sports day flame to announce the starting of Kreedotsava. Various outdoor as well as indoor games were played. The list includes – individual games like running race (100 & 200 meters) and shot put, group games like – kho-kho, volleyball and kabaddi, and indoor games like carrom and chess. Girls and boys from all the schools participated in the abovementioned games. It was amazing to see that the number of girls participating in the Kreedotsava was much higher than the number of boys. Winners from each sport were felicitated with certificates. At the end, the Championship Trophy (rolling cup) was awarded to the school which ranked first in the maximum number of conducted games. In case of Bangalore Rural District, Government High School, Begur received the Championship Trophy for the year.

What are They Saying?

Mr.Chandranna, the physical education teacher from Government High School, Begur appreciated the event and said that these type of sports events would highlight the talents of the students and would also build their leadership qualities, especially when they are working in a team. He also emphasized that the Sugamya Sikhsa team should conduct sports days at least twice in a year, as this would increase the interest of the students in sports and would also improve the performance of the school in the annual sports event organized by the State Government. Discussion with the kho-kho girls team players[11] about Kreedotsava revealed that this was the first time when they had been taught about the rules of the game and were able to participate in an inter-school sports event. They enjoyed the day and said that they would want to have similar events organized at least two to three times in a year, as this would help them to enhance their talent. However, they demanded that more coaches should be hired, who can teach them other games like badminton, chess etc.

Sugamya Sikhsa School Manager of Government Higher Primary School, Kodichikkenahalli, Mr. Naveen Kumar C. said that Kreedotsava had helped the students to express their talents outside their school. Cluster-level sports events organized by the State Government include a very limited variety of games, whereas in Sugamya Sikhsa Kreedotsava, indoor games were also included along with outdoor games. kv3The platform had also given the opportunity to the parents of the participating students to appreciate the talents of their children. Similarly, the School Manager of Government Model Primary School, Kudlu, Ms. Radha Dasari had said that Kreedotsava had increased the morale of the students. However, practice should not be limited to participation in the annual sports event only; students should be encouraged to practice regularly so that their interest can be retained for a longer period. As per our discussion with the students from Kudlu school, Kreedotsava had increased their morale and they had learned to play the games according to their rules.

At the end, a line from Mallaya (Std VII – B, Kudlu School) should be able to convey in a nutshell the reaction of children towards the Sugamya Sikhsa Kreedotsava, “Kreedotsava was good because ……we all felt very very happy on the day.”

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[1]Later renamed as Laxmibai National College of Physical Education.

[2]http://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/29741/11/11_chapter-2.pdf

[3]Initiated in the particular year

[4] https://yas.nic.in/sports

[5] https://qz.com/787153/india-has-won-just-28-olympic-medals-over-a-century-it-now-aims-to-win-50-in-just-8-years/

[6]GRAAM is implementing a programme named ‘Sugamya Shiksha’ with 10 government schools of Karnataka with an aim to strengthen public education system by complementing resources to ensure comprehensive learning and development of children.

[7] http://ncte-india.org/NCTEACT/chp15.htm

[8]Currently, Sugamya Sikhsha program is running in 9 schools of Karnataka – 3 in each district, i.e. Mysore, Bangalore Rural, and Hassan.

[9]Kreedotsava was organized at all the project districts – Bangalore Rural, Hassan and Mysore. Here we are giving the details of Kreedotsava organized for Bangalore Rural programme schools only.

[10]School Development and Monitoring Committee

[11]Ms. Priyanka, Ms. Saroja and Ms. Durga from Std IX – A from Government High School, Begur, Bangalore