Physical Education: A Right of Every Child

Physical Education has for long been acknowledged as a crucial facility in school education. For our Public School students, however, physical education continues to be a far cry. With the lack of basic infrastructure to promote the subject and a woeful shortage of teachers to impart skills to students, there is barely any opportunity for them to explore a future in sports. Even though its role in promoting 21st-century skills has been defined by the Indian Government, our students across public schools are alienated from the subject because of the absence of a coach. 

Mr. Narayan is an alumnus of the Yarandahalli Government Higher Primary School and the Hebbagodi Government Higher Primary School, both located in the Hennagara education cluster in Anekal. After completing his high school education, Mr. Narayan had to drop out because of his family’s socio-economic issues at the time (in 1996). However, his interest and sea of knowledge about sports didn’t take the backseat. 

“I had a teacher – Mr. Venkatesh, who is the reason I found my passion for sports. Back in High School, I would travel for about 10 kilometers to the nearest coaching centre. This stopped soon because travelling that far wasn’t feasible for me or for my family. If only I had an instructor in the school. I thought that our students can’t be faced with the same situation and if there are hidden talents in our public schools, they must be honed,” Mr. Narayan said. 

This led him back to his alma mater – the Yarandahalli Government School – where he began voluntarily coaching children in different sports. Mr. Narayan soon became an integral part of the school, helping teachers with school events, substituting for them in their absence, and sometimes, taking up responsibilities on behalf of the headteacher of the school as well. The most important value he added was for his students who now looked forward to getting on the field and being coached by him. 

Mr. Narayan has been a huge support for Team Mantra on the field, endorsing our work and believing in it. During one of our discussions with him, we shared that Yarandahalli School was an exception in the Hennagara Cluster as no other school had a PE Instructor but had a pool of talented children who would definitely benefit from it. This startled him and it wasn’t long until he decided to visit other schools and coach the students there as well. 

The academic year of 2019-20 opened with a busy schedule for Mr. Narayan and a host of opportunities for the children of Hennagara. In just 3 months since the schools reopened for the year, Mr. Narayan and his children are painting the town with their passion for sports. From winning the municipal town-level Kho Kho tournament, Kabbadi tournament, to relay and 400-meter races – the children in Hennagara are bagging them all. 

“No child must be denied physical education because they study in public schools. Our students have immense talent and their exposure to sports can help them deal with their challenges in other subjects. I hope that soon, every school in this country has this basic facility in place to help our children reach greater heights,” Mr. Narayan said. 

Contributed by Channakeshava VP, Cluster Community Lead, Mantra4Change

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