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Can Sports And Physical Education Empower And Teach?

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Pro Sport Development
F-86, Sarita Vihar
New Delhi – 110076
Website: https://prosportdev.in
Email: info@prosportdev.in

August 22, 2020

Shri Tusharkanti Behera, and Shri Samir Ranjan Dash
Hon. Ministers
Sports and Youth Services Department, and Department of School and Mass Education
Government of Odisha
Bhubaneswar, Odisha

Subject: Advancing sports and physical education as a tool for empowerment and educational attainment in schools across Odisha

Respected Sirs,

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.

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.

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:

  • Pedagogy: Merely engaging in sports is not enough — educators must develop a critical sports-integrated pedagogy that ensures that the benefits of sports are reaped by all students.
  • Training and capacity-building: To ensure that educators are using appropriate pedagogy, they have to be trained appropriately. This includes training not only the PE teachers and sports coaches, but also other educators in the system, so that sports-based learning is effective even within educational institutions.
  • Infrastructure: For sports-based learning to be effective, educators and learners need to have access to sound infrastructure, including playgrounds and quality equipment. School authorities should be empowered with budgets to invest in and maintain the same.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: To ensure that sports-based learning is working effectively, the monitoring and evaluation of programmes must be ensured to enable the assessment of specific learning outcomes based on pedagogy. This will also enable educators to make changes within pedagogy, and allow the collection of data to further advocate the benefit of sports.

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.

Yours sincerely,

The PSD Team

CC: Hon. Shri Vishal Kumar Dev

Hon. Shri Satyabrata Sahu

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