SPORTS GETS A MENTION

Illustration: Shyam G Menon

After raising hopes in June ahead of its release, the National Educational Policy 2020 as currently available on the website of the Ministry for Human Resource Development, restricts mention of sports to little over a paragraph.

On Pages 12 and 13, under the sub-section titled Experiential Learning, the policy says, “ sports-integration is another cross-curricular pedagogical approach that utilizes physical activities including indigenous sports in pedagogical practices to help in developing skills such as collaboration, self-initiative, self-direction, self-discipline, teamwork, responsibility, citizenship etc. Sports-integrated learning will be undertaken in classroom transactions to help students adopt fitness as a lifelong attitude and to achieve the related life skills along with the levels of fitness as envisaged in the Fit India Movement. The need to integrate sports in education is well recognized as it serves to foster holistic development by promoting physical and psychological well-being while also enhancing cognitive abilities.’’

A quick perusal of the document did not reveal any reference to sports more prominent than this, elsewhere in the text. The Fit India Movement referred to in the policy was launched on August 29, 2019 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is a nation-wide campaign aimed at encouraging people to include physical activities and sports in their everyday lives. The educational policy document (as available on the Internet) is divided into four parts – school education, higher education, other key areas of focus and making it happen. The reference to experiential learning including the paragraph on sports-integration is under school education. The part titled other key areas of focus, has sub sections devoted to professional education, adult education and lifelong learning, promotion of Indian language, arts and culture, technology use and integration and online and digital education: ensuring equitable use of technology. It had no sub-section on sports.

The National Education Policy 2020 received cabinet approval on July 29. On June 11, 2020 media reports had quoted the Union Minister for Sports, Kiren Rijiju, saying that sports is set to become part of educational curriculum.

(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)

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