Studies are increasingly showing the positive role that sports can play in children’s physical and psychological development but unfortunately they have not been getting enough attention from most school managements in India. Schools generally provide just an hour of sports one or two days a week. Some of the reasons cited are that they have limited playing facilities and equipment beside having just one sports teacher for all classes working full time or part time or none at all. This can change if there is an enlightened will but that is lacking as the school concentrate most of their time, energy and funds on exam oriented classroom centered education.
Also, pressure from parents and school managements to make students succeed in exams leaves the latter little time and attention for sports. Students return from schools in late afternoons and are forced to stay indoors to do studies related home works. As non compliance would make life difficult for the kids at school they avoid spending time for sports both at their schools or in the neighbourhood where they live. Many students who perform poorly in the academics as well as those performing very well are sent by their parents for tuition classes in the evening. It is during holidays that students have enough free time but as most schools are closed, sports facilities are not available and the students are prone to waste time on useless activities. This has been the routine in general and exception may happen only during a week or two leading up to annual sports at schools. Opportunity for outdoor sports is necessary every day of the year particularly in these times of entertainment explosion through TV and Internet which have strong potential to negatively affect balanced growth of children, not to speak of some of them taking to drinking and drugs due to bad company.
There was yet another study finding beneficent effects of outdoor sports on students reported in a newspaper recently. I am posting some excerpts as well as the link below hoping that efforts to give larger role for sports in education and make it a mandatory daily school activity may be initiated by educators:
Children who play outdoor games daily are more likely to have active brains and excel at academics, finds a new study.
Time taken away from lessons for physical activity is time well spent and does not come at the cost of getting good grades, said a consensus statement on physical activity in schools and during leisure time.
The study includes 21 separate statements on the four themes of fitness and health; intellectual performance; engagement, motivation and well-being; and social inclusion, and spans structured and unstructured forms of physical activity for 6 to 18 year olds in school and during leisure time.
Regular physical activity can help develop important life skills, and boost self esteem, motivation, confidence and wellbeing. And it can strengthen/foster relationships with peers, parents, and coaches.
Incorporating physical activity into every aspect of school life and providing protected public spaces, such as bike lanes, parks and playgrounds “are both effective strategies for providing equitable access to and enhancing physical activity for children and youth,” noted the study.