Pro Sport Development
F-86, Sarita Vihar
New Delhi – 110076
August 22, 2020
Shri Tusharkanti Behera, and Shri Samir Ranjan Dash
Sports and Youth Services Department, and Department of School and Mass Education
Government of Odisha
Subject: Advancing sports and physical education as a tool for empowerment and educational attainment in schools across Odisha
Pro Sport Development (PSD), an award-winning social enterprise dedicated to utilising sport as a tool for the holistic development of children and youth, would like to draw your attention to enabling the effective implementation and robust integration of sports and physical education within primary and secondary education systems across the state of Odisha. Having worked with various groups of children and young people in Odisha over the past seven years through the unique and participatory mediums of sport and physical activity, PSD has experienced first-hand the powerful impact sports has created on their empowerment and educational attainment.
Global evidence reveals that participation of school going children in sport has the potential to prevent disease, increase school attendance, improve cognitive abilities and build skills that promote employment and economic development. These benefits help empower individuals, which further fosters the socio-economic development of communities. Moreover, participation and excellence in sports brings laurels to the state and nation. It adds to the state and national economy, contributes to national development, and builds solidarity and camaraderie.
This contribution of sports has been widely recognised in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular those of Good Health and Well-being (SDG 3), Quality Education (SDG 4), and Gender Equality (SDG 5). In line with SDG 4, and an attempt to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’ by 2030, the Government of India has formulated the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
The NEP recognises sports-integration as a cross-curricular pedagogical approach of learning. The NEP emphasises that for the holistic development of all students, curriculums must go beyond merely focusing on academics to include other activities, such as games, sports and fitness. Sports-integrated learning undertaken in schools will help students adopt fitness as a lifelong attitude and achieve related life skills along with the levels of fitness as envisaged in the Fit India Movement.
Further, sports-integrated learning will help develop and promote rural and indigeneous/tribal games, which will make learning more relevant to these communities. Indeed, as PSD has found in the context of Odisha, these communities respond better to learning when their education is adapted to include outdoor settings and physical activities.
There is ample evidence to indicate that the integration of sports and physical activity in education serves to foster holistic development by promoting physical and psychological well-being, while also enhancing cognitive abilities. As Odisha in general, and Bhubaneswar in particular, position itself as the sports capital of India, it is essential that the state invests in sports-integrated learning for all its students.
Indeed, this is one way that Odisha can position itself as a leader among the other states of India. There are four important ways that sports can be effectively integrated in schools:
We hope this letter has demonstrated the importance of sports-integrated learning, and encouraged you to adopt such a pedagogy in schools across Odisha. PSD would be honoured to assist the Government of Odisha in these endeavours, and remains at your disposal.
The PSD Team
CC: Hon. Shri Vishal Kumar Dev
Hon. Shri Satyabrata Sahu