EduSports: How Sports Can Help In Imparting A Holistic Education For Children?

As educators, while training teachers across national and international boards, they must always be reminded about the 360 learning that sports provide.

The National Education Policy 2020 channelizes futuristic trends by focusing on many firsts as far as Indian education is concerned. These include the realignment of the K-12 structure of grades, vocational exposure for students, core subject emphasis, holistic education that focuses on sports and other co-curriculums as part of the curriculum and the trending Digital Quotient that has been transforming sports education. Some standpoint features of this guiding document have been passed by the Centre to enable the States to now create their standard operating procedures that are likely to be implemented in the next 2 years. This attention to sports in particular is a tell-tale sign of its inherent importance.

Given what the sports industry has experienced with the pandemic, this ‘collective’ vision of including and focusing on every aspect of school education - from the quality of teacher education to sports integration is defined and is also warranted. Our country can no longer plan curriculum in silos and as adults responsible for leading the children into the future as accountable and contributing citizens, the industry will need to provide exposure across disciplines.

As summed up by a leading economist who stated that the careers of the future will be dominated by ‘specialist’ skills such as performing arts, sports, and creative arts. Anything repetitive in nature will be automated, leaving more room for specialists to emerge as leaders of the pack, because scientists will still find it difficult to ‘clone’ or ‘replicate’ specialist skills. Sports is a big example of this.

Apart from its obvious ‘monetisation’ aspect that parents will be comforted about when encouraging students to pursue their passion (and quite frankly with 1.3 billion people, parents are thinking of career opportunities - job security and sustainability which is a valid and important point), sports is an education in itself.

As educators, while training teachers across national and international boards, they must always be reminded about the 360 learning that sports provide. These include the integration of all subject areas when completing their ‘syllabus’ goals be it Math, Science, History, Geography, or English. Against the backdrop of any sport, teachers can creatively explore geographical relevance - climatic changes to the historical significance of the region to a narrative or descriptive essay about the game analysis to comprehension decoding about a post-game report. They must try and bring in the relevance of linear equations in Maths or Science and when educators start to think about creating learning objectives with sports as a central theme; ‘learning’ becomes more fun for students.

Taking into consideration some of the most obvious advantages that sports bring to a child’s learning journey, life skills are an unavoidable aspect. Discipline, ownership, responsibility, dedication, teamwork and accountability are some more significant aspects defining the sports education landscape. The importance of these skills for the future has come into the light because of the pandemic where ‘paper-perfect’ scores in examinations were not the professionals who coped with the challenges around but those that have honed these skills. Sport is a platform that creates plenty of opportunities for children to build on be in indoor or outdoor sport or individual or team sports. Exposure to multi-sports provides children with the opportunity to experience, learn and build the capacity to embrace challenges.

For a country that by 2040 will have the youngest population to work with, the sports domain also needs to be aware that the industry will be competing for the top spot for obesity and related health concerns which is a worrying realisation. Unless from childhood, we do not encourage fitness routines, our compounded problems with health-related concerns will slower our pace of growth. Exposure to different sports and enabling children to develop healthier fitness routines will also help a lot of them who have to succumb to mental health challenges with the pressures of life, to cope. With Physical exercises - it is a scientifically proven fact that children eat and sleep better. Sports provide that recreational option for those who do not want to pursue it as a career that is just as important.

With the NEP (National Education Policy) recognising the potential, it is now up to the management and school leadership teams to ensure that children are exposed to facilities and resources enabling them to play more. Alongside, these facilities must equip parents to invest time and effort and continue this love for sports post-school hours as well. The sheer life lessons, students learn through sports are priceless and cannot be taught as a textbook learning goal.

It’s time to play more India, to create a fitter and healthier India, nurture the champions who bring back laurels for their country and most importantly, well rounded and balanced citizens of tomorrow.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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