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CBSE guidelines: Playstations can’t replace playing sports outdoors

The CBSE’s idea of mandatory outdoor activity every day can be a good way to counter growing concerns over children spending an inordinate time indoors glued to gadgets and on the Internet

editorials Updated: Apr 25, 2018 11:41 IST
CBSE,Right to Play,Sports
A game of football at a school in Pune. For the Playstation Generation, physical activity can enhance health, academic performance and overall productivity(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has come up with new guidelines for its schools, mandating them to include a sports period in the daily timetable. The largest national board, with more than 17,500 affiliated schools in the country, has brought out a manual with sports guidelines for classes 9 to 12 and methodologies to implement them. Beginning with the 2018-19 academic session, it will be mandatory for schools to have a sports period during which students will have to venture in to the playground every day.

The rationale behind the guidelines is to dissuade schoolgoing children from leading a sedentary lifestyle that is turning many of them into couch potatoes. In 2017, India had the second highest number of obese children in the world (14.4 million) after China (15.3 million obese children), according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The effects of inactivity on children’s health are well established. A three-year pan-India study by Fortis Hospital’s SRL Laboratories on 17,000 schoolgoing children carried out in 2015 revealed that 66% of children in India displayed abnormally high blood sugar levels leading to a 10-fold spike in cases of type-2 diabetes. Overweight and obese children are also at a greater risk of chronic diseases during childhood and adulthood, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep apnoea and several cancers. Overweight in adults is categorised as Body Mass Index of 25 kg/m2 to 30 kg/m2 and obesity as Body Mass Index of more than 30 kg/m2.

The idea of mandatory outdoor activity every day can be a good way to counter rising concerns over children spending an inordinate time indoors glued to gadgets and on the Internet. For the Playstation Generation, physical activity can enhance health, academic performance and overall productivity. A mandatory sports class won’t just help make students fitter individuals; it will also enhance social skills and help them value teamwork. Pursuing sport can help students inculcate a sense of self-worth and fair play. More than all this, a mandatory class in school will also help children derive a joy from playing, which many of them are denied in the shrinking urban landscape.

First Published: Apr 25, 2018 11:41 IST