CII Sports has embarked on many initiatives to inculcate a culture of sports at the grassroots level. In this Skill Talk, Deep Mukherjee, CEO, CII National Committee on Sports, shares the vision and roadmap to transform grassroots sports in India from being an extra-curricular activity in schools to a mandatory subject which can provide holistic education and a well-balanced growth. Spearheading the initiative of ‘Making India Play’ of making sports a movement, he throws light on the three structural changes being worked upon:
- Inclusion of sports in the school education system
- Investment opportunities and CSR funding for sports (Making India Play fund)
- Industry status for sports (launch of industry body called SPORTSCOM)
He talks about how the dedicated fund called ‘Making India Play fund’ would promote sports in schools and strengthen the evolving ecosystem through CSR funds. This will also create an opportunity for ex-sportspersons to become trainers, coaches and entrepreneurs in the realm of sports.
We are looking at making structural changes to ensure that sports is an integral part of formal school education. Sports contributes to holistic education and hence overall development of the child.
Sports helps in holistic education of a child by building life skills that are difficult to teach, formally, in a traditional classroom. Besides teaching the child to be a good leader and a team player, participating in sports helps them acquire skills like empathy, intuition, analytical thinking, decision making, goal setting, risk taking and so on. This learning is not possible through any other medium.
Holistic development through many skills
According to a research by doctors, it was found that, when a child plays a sport, the intuitive skills become as sharp just as when solving a difficult math problem. There is no dearth of scientific evidence to show that playing sports makes a child a sharper and better human being. Backed by this belief, we convinced the HRD Ministry to make sport a compulsory subject in the school curriculum. In current education system, sport is relegated to an extracurricular activity. I am glad to say that our efforts have shown good results.
In a landmark decision, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has mainstreamed and mandated compulsory sports education for classes 9 to 12 daily. This will help towards balanced growth of the child as well as promote holistic education. We are in discussion with Ministry of HRD as well as State Govts for a larger mandate across the country for sports in schools.
Sports curriculum at school level
We are helping MHRD with a teacher training program so that they can implement sports education in their respective schools as per the curriculum. Like for any other subject, there should be a report card, which calibrates the critical areas like, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, body mass index, stamina, tenacity, flexibility etc. This report card will bring out the same reaction in parents as the report cards of other subjects. We are also making recommendations to the state governments for making sport a compulsory subject.
Lack of will and knowledge
Contrary to the popular belief, most Government schools are not short on sports infrastructure! It is the condition in which the infrastructure is currently in or being used as, that is deplorable. It is the lack of knowledge, skill and teachers that needs attention. A survey done across few locations in the country, revealed that the biggest impediment to sports education in schools is not lack of infrastructure, but lack of – knowledge, skilled teachers and funds.
Making India Play Fund
To expand the scope for stakeholder engagement, we have launched Making India Play Fund. It is a collaborative philanthropic fund that is bringing together CSRs and philanthropic ecosystems, along with social Enterprises and service providers from the sports industry to deliver the mission of 300 million children in India playing one hour every day! The initiative is led by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), supported by CII Foundation. It has been designed with extensive research and collective inputs from experts in the sports and education ecosystems in India.
Need for sports trainers in schools
We are working with MHRD to create a formal program for training the teachers. This 60 to 80 hours program will be implemented in schools for training the teachers in conducting various sports classes. The training program will also create livelihood opportunity for ex-sportspersons as their services will be needed to coach the school teachers for imparting sports education.
Khelo India is a unique opportunity created by the government to promote sports at the school level. A platform has been created for school sports to become popular and create talent as grassroots level.