The Transformative Impact of Including Sports in School Education in India

    • By,
      Vishnu Menon – Admission Advisor , Kautilya

Education serves as the bedrock of a society’s progress. Integration of sports into the educational system is a pivotal step towards advancement. Integrating sports as a compulsory subject in the education policy is a forward-thinking move that can yield various benefits for the students. In the current education scenario in India, sports don’t play a significant role, and the curriculum does not place value on sports at large. The inclusion of sports as a subject within the curriculum will not just make the students play any particular sport but rather educate them about sports holistically. It will make them explore the plethora of opportunities in the field of sports. In this article, we will dive deep into why this inclusion is not just a preference but a necessity.

The inclusion of sports in the school curriculum has a more significant impact on student’s lives than we think. Regular participation in sports enhances physical fitness, and it directly affects their mental health in a positive manner, as well as their overall well-being. Sports bring discipline into a student’s life; it makes them build a team and develop their leadership skills. Most importantly, the impact of sports in a student’s life is that they learn how to handle failures, embrace failures, and convert losses into opportunities. Moreover, sports can be a great equalizer, allowing students from different backgrounds to connect, interact, and learn from one another, thus promoting social cohesion.

The integration of sports in schools drives the development of sports infrastructure. This is one of the most critical factors. The inclusion of sports in the school curriculum depends upon how we develop the infrastructure to determine the future of sports in India. Facilitating sports education in schools will require proper facilities, including tracks, gyms, and courts. The demand for appropriate facilities will force government bodies, municipalities, and local communities to invest and allocate funds on improving and providing newer infrastructure. But how do we maintain these facilities? Who will look after the expenses on maintenance? All these facilities should be open for all communities and should be open to the conduct of events regularly as well so that it creates review for its maintenance.

In the current education system, students need to be made aware of the opportunities in the field of sports. The integration of sports in school education in India will open up a world of career opportunities for young individuals. The conventional path of education never explores the opportunities nor values sports as a serious subject; the inclusion of sports in school empowers students to explore diverse and rewarding careers within the sports ecosystem, such as sports management and administration, sports coaching, sports journalism, and media, sports science, sports entrepreneurship, sports technology and many more.

Policy-making regarding sports is not at its best in the country; it is mainly because of our country’s avoidance of sports and below-par sports education. In 1984, India took a significant turn with the introduction of the National Sports Policy. It acted as a crucial step in acknowledging the role of sports and physical education in societal development. In 2011, the National Sports Policy was revised, emphasizing sports as a platform for personal growth and productivity enhancement, and the importance of sports has become widely acknowledged. Central to this transformation is the Khelo India Program. and it heart lies at the “Khelo India Youth Games” but this still only gives the youth a platform to perform not actual education on sports, by integrating sports into the school curriculum it creates a conducive environment for better policy-making in the field of sports. As the students engage in sports activities, educators and policymakers get a direct insight into the challenges and opportunities in the sports ecosystem. This experience helps in evidence-based policy formulation. Inclusion of sports in education will also create a future generation who understands sports-related policies and can act as a critic when evaluating the formulation of sports policies and help foster a culture where corruption is checked. It will also aid a process where well-educated and well-versed representatives with sports-related issues will be elected and represent issues facing the sports scenario in India.

The sports sector only contributes as much as 700 billion USD, which is 1% of the global GDP, and India’s sports industry contributes close to 4.5%, which is 14000 crore rupees. Where 85% of it is through cricket, imagine if one sport is capable of donating 80% of the total contribution in sports sector; what would the progress be if we start to encourage and celebrate all the other sports as well, P V Sindhu, Neeraj Chopra are all stalwarts but they fail to remain stars as compared to starts in cricket which is mainly due to the lesser acceptance to other sports such as badminton, javelin etc. Inclusion of sports in school education will make the next generation accept, encourage, and holistically celebrate sports. By developing a culture of sports from a young age, schools can help nurture talented athletes and open up various opportunities related to sports. This will help develop the sports sector in all forms, such as sponsorship, broadcasting rights, ticket sales, sports goods sales, imports, exports for sports goods, and sports tourism, which will help develop and boost economic growth.

Schools act as the foundation of building strong sports communities. As students engage in sports activities, they form friendships centered around common interests. These connections may extend beyond school life, which will lead to the formation of sports communities. This is how clubs are formed and later lead to leagues and competition, slowly developing a culture of sports and sports communities. When we have communities, we have a group of people to make decisions, protect, embrace, and celebrate sports.

The inclusion of sports in school education as a graded subject in India yields multiple benefits that extend far beyond physical activity. It impacts students’ personal growth, teamwork, and resilience. This integration will transform the image of the country in the field of sports. Not just by increasing the number of sportspersons but by acting as a global sports hub. As India aims to make its mark in the world in the coming century, India must strive to become a global sports powerhouse; incorporating sports into school education is a strategic move that aligns with national goals. By nurturing a generation of young athletes, enthusiasts, and informed citizens, the country paves the way for a prosperous future where sports get its deserved value and takes the center stage in the development journey.

*The Kautilya School of Public Policy (KSPP) takes no institutional positions. The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the views or positions of KSPP.