Even as Indian sportspersons put up a dismal show at the Rio Olympics, Kendriya Vidyalayas have unveiled a strategy to produce the country’s next generation of medal winners.
Noting how most Indian parents discourage their children from participating in sports, the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) on Saturday issued directions aimed at providing “academic compensation” to students inclined towards sporting activities. It also prescribed extra classes for students preparing for sports tournaments.
Through this, the KVS – an autonomous body under the human resource development ministry – intends to convince parents that allowing students to participate in sports shouldn’t have to come at the cost of their academic progress.
As per the proposed scheme, the central government schools will put in place an alternative academic schedule and hold extra classes to compensate for valuable classroom hours lost to sporting activities. If students miss classes for an extended period of time while attending a coaching camp being held at a different place, the authorities concerned would have to ensure that they are tutored at the host school.
These instructions were issued by the Kendriya Vidyalaya commissioner to deputy commissioners across the country.
A senior official said parents are averse to sending their children to sporting events – sometimes even prestigious regional-level tournaments – because they end up missing classes, ultimately affecting their academic performance. “But we need to promote sports along with academics, developing a sporting culture in the process. We are also taking into account the students who excel in sports, but are unable to make it big because marks are a huge factor in getting admitted to universities and colleges,” he said.
Students who participate in cultural activities and competitions will also be provided extra classes and additional support by the teaching staff.
Kendriya Vidyalayas already have some distinguished sportspersons on their alumni rolls, including Olympic silver medallist (and Union minister) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and air pistol marksman Jaspal Rana. There are over 1,100 such schools, with a student population of 12 lakh, across the country.
The KVS awards scholarships aimed at encouraging students to participate in sporting activities, such as athletics, swimming, hockey, football, cricket, table-tennis, badminton, handball, basketball, volleyball, kho-kho and kabaddi.
Over 15,000 Kendriya Vidyalaya students participated in the national sports meet last year. Recently, a Kendriya Vidyalaya student from Jammu won the gold at the Commonwealth Chess Championship in Sri Lanka.