Sports need to be linked to education and it is the need of the hour. In the present world, when smaller nations are making much progress in sports with medals in Olympics, India is lagging far behind. It’s poor involvement in sports other than cricket is a matter of grave concern.
India’s higher education system is the third largest in the World, but only a handful make it to the international level in sports. We do not have the basic sporting infrastructure in most of the cities and we do not provide the sports persons with the facilities needed for training.
Our education system does not back sports even though efforts are being made to make and implement an accredited education system which introduces Physical Education as a compulsory subject from the school level to the Post Graduate level.
In spite of all these, sports has not been given the importance it deserves. Holistic development in students is absent, and a balance between co-curricular activities and academics in higher education is absent.
Many Schools/ Colleges do not have/ maintain play grounds or provide the required sports equipment to aspiring students. Physical Education teachers are poorly paid, unlike in the academic faculty. The myth that Physical Education and Sports does not aid one’s academic progress prevails, even in the best of institutions.
Town Planning is very much necessary for developing sporting infrastructure in a city. If you look at the West, Europe and other developing countries, every area in a city will have a Swimming Pool and an Indoor Stadium facility which helps better community living and gives the general public an opportunity to utilise the facilities.
New extension areas must compulsorily have playgrounds and basic sporting infrastructure of good standard, so that the general public living there can utilise them and become healthier human beings. The concerned development authority and the Corporation should plan accordingly and provide such facility which will go a long way in promoting sport.
All round development
Sports when practiced helps an individual to learn about winning and losing which is very much necessary and helps them to overcome failures in life. It helps in creating healthy and stable body functions, maintaining hormone levels besides managing stress and depression.
Most of the parents fail to understand this and continue to put pressure on children to score well in academics, even though the child has shown interest in sports. This is not only demoralising but also leads to low self esteem in children who cannot live up to the expectations of their parents.
Participation in sports makes most of the sports persons confident and they learn to overcome failures. Human values are reinforced through sports in the younger generation. It is proved scientifically that physical activity has a positive impact on cognitive skills, leading to improved academic performance through enhanced concentration and attention as well as improved classroom behaviour.
Students perform well when they are physically fit. Unfortunately, many of the education institutions eliminate Physical Education, with a belief that if students spend more time in the ground, they will not fare well in their studies, which is a wrong thinking. Sports inculcates team spirit, leadership skills, strategic thinking and risk-taking attitude, that is very essential in an individual’s career after having performed well academically.
In the present day scenario, various career opportunities have opened up in sports for interested youngsters. If they want to build their sports career, there are many Graduate and Post Graduate programmes in Sports Management. Many sports disciplines have professional leagues and in order to manage and run the show, sports management managers are required in different aspects to look after logistics, coaching, sports injuries, video analysis, data extracting and strategic planning.
Besides representing the State, National and International levels, a sports person can get employment in any organisation and represent them. He can work as a Coach/ Physio, Umpire/ Referee or become a Sports Journalist or Sports Commentator. A career in Sports Photography and Sports Journalism is much sought after these days. They can also take dealership of sports equipment from manufactures and start their own business.
There are success stories of how Indian School, College, University and Corporates in the business sector play an important role in building India’s sporting culture. Hence, a constructive effort is needed to gradually adopt methods of linking sports to higher education thus ensuring a successful evolution in the Indian education system.
The Indian Government is doing its bit, by bringing in good schemes like Khelo India Youth Games, University-level Games and spotting fresh talents and giving them the needed exposure to compete in the highest level. Everything cannot be done by the Government alone and private players, Academies and Corporate companies should also contribute to spot talent and support them.
This can only happen if sports can be woven into the academic stream and if it is supported by the Principal and Administrators of the Institution, the Corporate World who can sponsor events which in turn can brighten up the sporting scene in the country.