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The New Education policy reiterated the significance of Physical Education in the overall education system and its role in shaping the youth by developing qualities such as leadership, team spirit, sportsmanship etc. There is no doubt that Physical Education plays an important role in the initial years of children’s education by developing them Physically and Mentally. Physical Education teachers have the most significant role when it comes to recognizing a sporting talent and grooming them while they are informative years in order to develop them into sports persons who can then represent the country at the highest stage.
Despite all the acknowledgment of significance, the truth on the ground is that Physical Education as a career option is not as rewarding as a career in other subject areas. Both in terms of qualitative and quantitative parameters Physical Education professionals are not treated at par with other subject area experts within the academic system. In my opinion, there are majorly three reasons responsible for this situation.
Firstly, Physical Education and sports were not encouraged as a priority career option by parents, institutions and even subject experts who never showed enthusiasm in promoting it as a viable career option. Hopefully, with the implementation of the New Education Policy 2020, this scenario will certainly change. Secondly, the ratio of physical education graduates and available employment opportunities every year is very steep, this is a serious concern and a major deterrent in establishing physical education as a sustainable career. The problem can be addressed if the number of state-managed sports universities and colleges is increased. This should be in sync with the population or geography, for example, in every district or for every one million people there should be at least one institution dedicated to education in Physical Education and Sports.
Last but not the least, the truth of the matter is that Physical Education is a dynamic profession with multiple verticals and specializations. But when it comes to training teachers for such specializations there are very few options at the university level. This should be addressed by the formation of All India Council For Physical Education And Sports Sciences on the lines of NCTE. It should be a designated body of experts that will develop and implement a dynamic curriculum as per specialization, academic content and teacher’s training. In absence of such specialized training, we are developing Physical Education Professionals with almost the same skill set and knowledge.
The Physical Education Foundation of India is putting in efforts and working with policymakers in order to form a dedicated council for Physical Education. There is also a need to create new positions for Physical Education Teachers based on specialization. In my opinion following steps could be taken to improve employability standards.
Introduction of New Full Time Degree Courses Under Physical Education Departments :
Full time courses at the bachelor’s and master’s levels should be introduced as per the requirement. For example, courses such as Sports Facility Management, Sports Management, Sports Administration, Sports Engineering etc can be introduced as degree courses at the university level under Physical Education Department. This will not only provide multiple options to the students, but it will also improve the employability prospects. Such courses should be given as an option starting from at least senior secondary school.
Upskilling Courses for Existing Professionals:
There are very few options for Physical Education professionals when it comes to upskilling options. We should work towards diversifying the skillset of our current workforce by organizing specialized diploma-level coaching courses. Specialized courses like anti-doping expert certifications, commentary, sports marketing, sports event management etc can also be part of upskilling initiatives. It will again help to improve the employability value of existing professionals and will create a dynamic workforce with a diverse skill set.
Olympics Activators in Universities:
At Least every central university should have one qualified Physical Education teacher whose job should be focused and limited to Olympics awareness, talent identification and talent grooming. This post alone can create thousands of new positions across the country and can be a game-changer in our future Olympics prospects. These professionals can also act as a bridge between the Sports Authority of India and Universities. This model can be replicated in other schools and colleges across the country as well in later stages.
The situation of Physical Education as a segment is worrisome at the moment and there is a desperate need to devise and implement innovative and inclusive solutions for this problem. There is no doubt about the fact that as a country we have progressed a lot in every sphere, but that progress has yet to reflect in the Physical Education and Sports segment. If we want to see ourselves on top of the medal tally in international games, then we need to start course correction of our education system as soon as possible. This is where it all starts, we need quality teachers at the grassroots level, that can only happen when there are enough opportunities and motivation. Therefore, we need to assure our youth that Physical Education and Sports Education can be a promising and sustainable career options.
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