SPORT is an important element of schooling because it teaches various skills to students, like leadership, patience, team effort and social skills. Sports and physical activities improve cardiovascular fitness among the students, increase bone density, and save them from unwanted illnesses. Moreover, they are great for developing a pupil’s character and moral principles through fair play. This is evident in any sport or activity they take part in at the school level.

Engaging children in sporting activities in school gives them the opportunity to interact with other children who they may not have met had they not participated in such healthy activities.

Participation in sports creates a learning environment for children, as they learn to respect authority, rules, teammates and opponents which helps in shaping their future acknowledgement of working environments, enabling a smooth transition into the different manners in which corporate organisations function.

The Covid pandemic did spoil whatever sporting activities were taking place in educational institutions, as the children had been restricted to homes, but things are improving and, in any case, the pandemic will not last forever. As such, schools must focus on involving children in physical activities on a daily basis in the long run.

The timings of schools, lack of resources and lack of technical expertise are some of the obstacles to overcome in this regard. Recently, the Punjab government has bound the schools to provide at least one period of 40 minutes every day for children’s physical activities. The initiative has been highly appreciated by the parents, and they sincerely hope that the schools will execute the plan in the best possible manner.

The relevant ministry should train the teachers about how to involve children in physical activities on a daily basis within the given resources and circumstances. There are physical education (PE) teachers in almost every public and private school, but their capacity is not always up to the mark. So there should be alternative arrangements in place, like involving all the teachers for the physical wellbeing of the students. The activities should be held daily turn by turn for each grade, and the PE should facilitate the subject teacher in this regard.

The health and wellbeing of children is of paramount importance, and building a healthy relationship with sports helps them manage their emotions as well. Not only does the participation in sports and games boost confidence among the pupils, it can also contribute to reducing stress and increasing the feeling of both physical and mental wellbeing.

Public and private schools across Pakistan should provide children the best chance of flourishing at a sport that may set them up in line to receive a scholarship in schools, colleges or universities.

Saghir Ahmad
Wah Cantt

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2021

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