Tall claims of the Punjab government to promote sports at the ground level have proved to be a hoax as more than 60% posts of DPEs (Diploma Physical Education) are vacant in high and secondary schools in the district.
According to information, there are 81 high and senior secondary schools in the district and 63 posts of DPEs have been sanctioned. However, only 25 DPEs have been appointed in these schools while 38 posts are vacant at present.
Education department sources said that these schools also lack proper grounds for different games like football, hockey, basketball, volleyball, badminton and kho-kho. In most schools, there is only one ground for all sports.
A DPE, on the condition of anonymity, said that due to lack of funds to purchase sports kits and other infrastructure, it was becoming difficult to provide proper training to students during sports periods. Teachers and students contribute from their own pockets to purchase kits for students, he claimed.
According to norms, four periods of sports per week are mandatory up to Class-10 and 7 periods for students of Class-12. However, a government school teacher Gurmail Kaur told HT that these mandatory periods are mere wastage of time of students because, due to lack of sports facilities, students spend this time neither in sports nor in studies.
Meanwhile, district education officer (secondary) Jaswant Kaur said that posts of DPEs had become vacant with the passage of time due to superannuation of some of the DPEs. She said that she has already apprised the higher authorities in this regard and added that vacant posts would be filled soon.
A senior Akali leader, requesting anonymity, said that, on the one hand, the state government was promoting kabaddi by organising international tournaments every year while, on the other, it had failed to provide funds to promote other sports. He said the government should provide proper funds and infrastructure in schools to produce international-level players.