Playtime: Students of a Ranchi government school make best use of their cramped campus
All study and no play makes Jharkhand a dull boy — or girl for that matter.
Academics in the state, where parks and playgrounds are shrinking by the day in the name of development, have vocally endorsed the Union sports ministry’s proposal to grant up to 3 per cent additional marks to school students for physical fitness.
They firmly believe that besides making GenY healthier, the unique initiative will effectively bridge the gap between syllabus pressure and personality development, much like what John F. Kennedy once said: “Fitness is not just the most important key to a healthy body, it is also the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”
Father Ajit Xess, principal of St Xavier’s School in Ranchi, said a health body could host a healthy mind. “Textbooks can provide knowledge, not confidence. Sports and physical activities help children evolve. They aid in development of one’s personality. I heartily endorse the proposal,” he said.
He pointed out that in most schools games was no longer considered important and stress was only on academics. “This is so very wrong. It is the duty of every cradle to give a child time for physical growth,” he added.
According to the plan — which Union sports minister Ajay Maken said would be motivational rather than coercive — students of Class V onwards will be assessed for their body mass index values, cardio-respiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and explosive strength. The performers in both genders will earn marks that may be converted into academic grades.
Director of DAV Group of Schools L.R. Saini said though students receive grades in physical fitness, the marks were not linked to their overall academic results. “There are many who believe that only studying can help children clear tests. What they fail to understand is that the mind is healthy only when the body is fit,” he said.
DAV Gandhinagar principal S.K. Sinha agreed. “We are increasingly restricting children to the confines of home anc classroom. This needs to change. I hope the Centre’s proposed programme is implemented.”
Jamshedpur echoed Ranchi.
Motilal Nehru Public School principal Anshu Tiwary lauded the decision. "It will prevent schoolchildren from becoming couch potatoes and lead a healthy life," he said.
Gulmohur School principal Sunita Sinha felt the programme, if implemented, would give students a means to vent their anger. "Obesity is a killer. If physical fitness is linked to grades, it will motivate children to stay healthy. Sports can also help them channel their energy in the right direction," she summed it up.