PT periods look redundant? Here’s why Indian schools should re-evaluate their fitness programmes

first_imgChanging facet of schools:Today’s schools are no longer defined by their age-old, large buildings, classrooms filled with wooden chairs and table and a blackboard. Today’s schools have a dynamic environment fuelled with security cameras, professional security guards, complete computerization of operations across the school, e-learning resources, ergonomic furniture, professional catering, housekeeping and what not. Today’s schools are knowledge hubs which need to help a child achieve his or her true potential. While the above-mentioned factors were earlier considered as just a USP about schools, they are increasingly being seen as standard offerings for most upcoming schools as well as those with years of legacy in the field of education.Alarming statistics of Indian children’s physical health:1. Research across various cities in India indicates that 1 out of 4 children living in metro cities and 1 out of every 6 children in non-metro cities is obese.2. The flexibility quotient among students studying in metros is 24.7 percent, while it is 31.1 percent in those studying in non-metro cities.3. The anaerobic capacity (maximal work performed during maximum-intensity short-term physical effort) in students is 27.5 percent in metro cities and 30.2 percent in non-metro cities.The above facts also more or less further get re confirmed by thousands of fitness tests conducted by The Sports Gurukul (TSG), a professional sports academy in Mumbai, in over 100 schools and 23 cities of India.Are schools taking the right path?With children spending 10 to 15 years in schools, the onus of overall development (which includes physical development) rides on the shoulders of a school. Certainly a school doesn’t want to give back their nation a lopsided grown individual who is intellectually stimulated and physically obese by the time he graduates school.advertisementSo does it mean schools are failing? Does it mean they do not know how to correct this? Does it mean schools are ignorant about this fact? Does it mean schools really don’t care?In certain cases, the answer would be a resounding “Yes!”, while in others, it would be “No”. Research data most certainly suggests heightened attention required on the part of schools and immediate corrective action, without which the school education programme will be incomplete.Need for PT periods:The 2-3 PT periods in a week are overlooked in many schools but are perhaps one of the most important facets for a holistic development of a child. It is scientifically proven that a physically fit body stimulates the intellect, and, hence; it is very important that schools focus more on making their students physically fit as well. Current state of PT periods:Most PT sessions are unstructured, non-planned sessions, which waste the crucial time of many children. While the thought process for fitness requires the same attention as your school gives to core education subjects, the subject of fitness is rather more important. Sadly, the pressure to achieve academic goals (which do not count the physical development of a student) is so overbearing, that adequate attention could not be given to fitness and PE in traditional schools.Evaluating PE systems in schools:Schools should ask themselves the following questions to evaluate their system of physical education:1. Are Fitness and Sports an important part in overall education at school?2. Do we have a well-defined plan for fitness of children in our school?3. Is our PE and sports program run with a systematic curriculum and executed as per well-planned lesson plans?4. Is progression of each child tracked and evaluated?5. Is diet given importance in our programs?6. Is there a regular assessment of our children conducted through worldwide established scientific fitness test batteries?7. Are we using age appropriate sports equipment for children?8. Is my teacher using the right Physical education teaching pedagogy and ensuring each child is being equally attended?If the answer to all the above questions is yes, your school is certainly doing the right things. But if the answer is no, the sports and PE programme in your school need immediate attention.Outsourcing options:Keeping in mind the problems faced in this sector, schools can vouch for outsourcing their PE programmes for a better fitness training of their students. The Sports Gurukul (TSG) is one such institute offering this kind of service. The following are some of its features:1. TSG has adopted the Human Kinetics Physical education program, which is further customised in the Indian context.2. It uses scientifically researched curriculum used in over 3000 institutions in the US.3. It uses play way methods and fun, along with intensive pedagogy training for trainers, who deliver systematic training.4. TSG offers both a complete solution and a ‘Train the trainer’ model, where existing good teachers can be helped and trained in improving their delivery and results from their current school PE programme.advertisementSchools need to think what kind of generation they are raising and introduce a proper fitness foundation, which can be utilised by them for a lifetime.With inputs from Mr. Jay Shah, Co-Founder and Director, The Sports GurukulRead: Importance of physical education in school curricula Read: Vocational Education: Climbing up on the economic growth bandwagonlast_img read more