As we prepare to implement the new education policy 2020, Physical Education Teacher’s Roles Should also be revamped as per the aspirations of New India.

Since the announcement of New Education Policy 2020 (NEP-2020), discussions on the role of physical education as a subject area have been going on within the physical education and sports fraternity, and in the circle of academia on the whole. It has been well established in NEP 2020, that moving forward physical education will play a significant role in the overall education system. Definitely, the motive is to increase participation in physical activities and sports substantially to ensure the holistic development of our kids. The Government is also focused on improving the stature of the country in Olympics and other international sports events of significance. All that looks great on paper, but how are we going to achieve that when most of the government schools in India don’t have proper infrastructure or enough physical education teachers? Without reinventing the role of physical education teachers especially in elementary schools, we cannot achieve this vision. Because that’s where potential future champions are identified and nurtured. So how do we move forward? How do we define the reinvented role of the Physical Education and Sports fraternity and professionals in aspiring new India that sees itself on top of the podium in major international tournaments across the array of sports?

Upskilling of available Physical Education and Sports Professionals:

This has to be implemented on a priority basis, the role of physical education teachers in the current scenario has been mostly confined to training school and college teams in the sport of their specialization and teaching a fixed curriculum that has been carried over for decades. One of the reasons for this has been the lack of upskilling programs for physical education teachers, hence they are unable to diversify in terms of output they can provide. This can be resolved if moving forward the focus is laid upon providing the available professionals with regular specialized coaching courses, workshops on fitness & wellness, anti-doping, sports psychology, diet and nutrition and other such professional courses. It will be much more effective if both government and private educational institutions along with physical education & sports associations and NGO’s work together to achieve this. It will not only help to develop a pool of multi-disciplinary teachers but will also help to improve the utility of Physical Education in the overall education system.

Expanding Horizon of Physical Education and Sports Science As a Subject Area:
In reality, when it comes to physical education and sports science as a subject area it has been limited to a subject which students opt in order to improve their overall percentage in senior secondary board exams. As we aspire to become a leading sporting nation, we cannot afford this attitude to continue. Physical Education is a serious and very diversified subject area. In many countries, physical education and sports sciences are offered as separate disciplines at the senior school level. The subject is so diverse and presents enormous potential and career opportunities that it deserves to be offered as a separate discipline starting from senior secondary school. Subject areas such as First Aid, CPR, Sports Psychology, Diet and Nutrition, Fitness and Wellness, Facility Management, Anatomy and Physiology etc should be included in the school curriculum and moving forward should be offered as a separate discipline starting from the senior school. This will not only create better opportunities for students but it will also impact the whole physical education and sports fraternity very positively on the whole and could possibly prove to be a game-changer.

Proactive Role of Educational Institutions:

If we just want to implement NEP 2020 in the context of physical education and sports by the book then it will eventually happen, but if we are looking to achieve something extraordinary then educational institutions have to play a proactive role. There are many approaches that can be suggested for educational institutions. First would be the focus of upskilling of physical education teachers and subsequently offering multiple sports and subjects within the framework of physical education and sports.
Secondly, institutions can utilize their playgrounds and facilities to develop professional sports academies and other allied facilities, which should be open to all the local sportspersons and general public depending upon the operational capacity of such facilities. These sports academies can be managed by physical education teachers. This will not only provide extra income for teachers but will also open up new sources of revenue for institutions as well, but most importantly it will provide an opportunity for young sportspersons to pursue the sport. Providing physical education and sports sciences as a separate discipline will also require a proactive and unified approach by educational institutions across the country.

The role of Policymakers:
Government agencies, Professional associations, NGO’s and other bodies working in the space of Physical education and sports have to think and act beyond the conventional approach. The programs like Khelo India can only give expected outcomes if schools in rural areas are provided with appropriate facilities. Government schools, universities, and colleges have better resources in terms of playgrounds, but when it comes to sports facilities, sadly the situation is still grim. With the help of Physical Education teachers, the resources lying unused or unfertilized with government institutions should be used to develop sports/fitness facilities for students and the general public. Physical education teachers can play a significant role in this, the crux of the matter is why we should not explore to expand the role of physical education teachers beyond teaching? They can be utilized effectively in facilitating the development of sports infrastructure across the country, especially in rural areas. Physical education teachers should also be given the added responsibility of exploring the role of CSR activities in the context of the development of sports infrastructure in their institutions.

The above-discussed measures may seem hypothetical in the context of our country, but most of these ideas are being successfully implemented in the rest of the world. When we are aspiring to become world leaders across segments including sports, then why should we hesitate to implement innovative approaches and ideas. At least we should discuss the possibilities. It’s not just about physical education teachers but the whole academia will have to brainstorm in this direction. The role of physical education teachers should be reinvented to suit the aspirations of new India. There is nothing better to support this change than the famous saying by John. F.Kennedy, “Intelligence and skill can only function at the peak of their capacity when the body is healthy and strong”. This can only be achieved if every kid in this country gets enough opportunities to participate in sports during their formative years. If that has to happen we need to empower our physical education teachers and fraternity on the whole.

Team #PEFI

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