Posted on July 13, 2018 | by Vinod Kakumanu
Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), in a bid to mainstream health and physical education in schools, has intervened elevating sports from a neglected extra-curricular activity level to a curricular standard. Health and Physical Education (HPE) – as the new subject is named – is to be made a daily period in all schools, for class IX to XII. It is clear that the policy is directed towards the adolescents and their lifestyle that is bringing about results contradictory to the purpose of overall development. Children, in the present state of affairs, are turning into “couch potatoes” and that moved the board to take the unprecedented step. Detailed guidelines and descriptive methodologies for putting HPE into effect in CBSE Schools has been made available by CBSE at Mainstreaming health and physical education manual.
As per the guidelines of this policy, students from the classes 9th to 12th would move out to the playground with the liberty to engage in the physical activity of their choice. The students will choose the activity and they will be graded in the same. The sports manual contains instructions to implement the new policy along with the list of sports and games that it recommends for the HPE period starting from the 2018-19 academic session.
The rationale behind the policy to strike a balance between physical and cognitive activities is obvious but the executive instruction to the CBSE schools reflects an immediacy. CBSE cites that it is a measure against the rising incidences of obesity in children. While there has never been a compulsory sports period in CBSE or, for that matter, any other board, it is now only a matter of time before other boards take steps to check the plummeting of the physical activity owing to the preoccupation of adolescents with media. Teachers are increasingly realizing that the restriction current routine puts on venturing outdoors and flexing muscles is turning pathological. It is mentionable here that India had the second highest number of obese children in the world after China in 2017.
The circular making the sports period mandatory is welcome because it is realized that the situation is alarming. By all accounts, CBSE has made a good start and its wisdom has been attested by none other than the sports icon of successive generations, Sachin Tendulkar, whose congratulatory letter to CBSE Chairman, Anita Karwal mentions obesity as a major concern for the health of children and underscores India’s dubious distinction as being no. 3 in terms of obesity.
There Is widely rising concern about the children’s health on which sedentary routine is taking its toll. Such lifestyle brings obesity in its wake, which is a physical and psychological liability for the adolescents.
There have been several studies that establish that adolescent obesity is correlated with early onset of metabolic diseases like Type-2 diabetes. Other diseases that are plausibly related to inactivity and resulting obesity in early life include heart diseases, respiratory disorders like asthma and sleep-apnea and heightened risk of other chronic diseases in later life.
The order will have several administrative implications for school management including the accommodation of the extra period, upscaling of sports and medical emergency facilities etc.
Essential elements of CBSE sports guidelines include following facets
- The inclusion of Health and Physical Education (HPE) period in the school timetable from this academic year itself. The sports or HPE will be a daily period.
- Health and Physical Education (HPE) is distinguished from the already existent elective offered in board exams named Physical Education. It is entirely different from PE in structure as HPE is supposed to be entirely a practical subject sans theory.
- Conducting the sports period will not be incumbent upon the physical education teachers specifically. Any teacher including the class teacher would be considered fit to administer the period and recordings thereof.
- The new subject i.e. HPE will not have its marks added to the final exams marks tally. Yet, without attending the period and assessment the student would not appear in certificate or board exams of Grade 10 or 12.
CBSE direction to affiliated schools to reserve one period for “Health and Physical Education” in 2018-19 academic session is a major policy move. Though currently, it is applicable for classes IX to XII the board signifies that it prefers it to be extended to all the classes eventually.
Regardless of the scale, School Serv invariably offered equal importance to sports and academics in every school project. With this step of the national board, School Serv’s mission stands vindicated.