Karnatak University, Dharwad, to provide special incentives for student sportspersons in the form of grace marks
The need for having a promotional scheme for upcoming sportspersons at the college and university-levels has been raised and discussed on various occasions and forums. Though the sports fraternity has been pressing for providing grace marks to the students who excel in sports, the universities in our State have not taken these pleas seriously. Consequently, the participation in the sports activities has witnessed a southward trend in recent times. As the academic performance alone is counted in determining the career of a student, lack of promotional schemes for sportspersons has proven to be a discouraging factor.
While the other universities are yet to think about this issue seriously, the Karnatak University, Dharwad (KUD), has taken some bold steps in this regard.
This second oldest university of the State emerged the first to announce special incentives for student sportspersons in the form of grace marks. Accordingly, the students taking part in inter-university sports tournaments will get grace marks of four and those taking part in inter-collegiate sports events will receive two marks as special incentive.
The KUD’s decision has brought some relief to the students who are good at sports. It was often alleged that sportspersons in colleges and universities suffer academically as they have to lose classes for sports practice. The university academic council has approved a proposal in this regard and appointed a sub-committee to finalise the modalities. The new scheme will be implemented from the coming academic year.
Vice-Chancellor H.B. Walikar told The Hindu the varsity decided to announce grace marks for sportspersons following the demand by the sports fraternity in the region. As academic performance plays a key role in the career of students, the students are more serious in their studies now compared to the olden days. This is a good development, but it in turn left the sports activities in a fix. Even those students who were good at sports began neglecting it for academic performance. Hence, the university decided to do something for sportspersons, he said.
Eminent sportspersons who took part in the university-level athletic meet held in Dharwad last month requested the university to consider giving grace marks for sportspersons at the undergraduate and the postgraduate level. They had drawn the notice of the varsity authorities to the dwindling number of students taking part in sports events and requested the university to consider some kind of promotional schemes for upcoming sportspersons. “We decided to take a lead in this direction,” Prof. Walikar said.
As per the decision taken by the university's academic council, the grace marks will be given for each examination. Students can claim grace marks for their achievement in that particular academic year and not for the laurels won in the previous year. “In case the sportspersons get four marks lesser than the minimum marks required to pass the subject, they will be compensated with the grace marks so that they do not suffer academically. For instance, if a student sportsperson scores 33 marks in a subject, he will be given grace marks to be declared passed in that subject,” he said.
Pratap Singh Tiwari, Director, Department of Physical Education and Sports, Karnatak University, said the number of participants in sports events had come down significantly.
Earlier, it was common to find not less than 3,000 students taking part in the university-level events. Only about 500 students took part in the athletic meet held in Dharwad recently.
This despite sports infrastructure having had improved significantly in the universities compared with previous years. But it had not propelled the students’ participation. Moreover, the semester system too had contributed to the dwindling participation in sports activities as the students hardly find sufficient time to practise for sports and study for examinations. The grace mark system may help improve conditions, he said.
Though the university has taken a commendable step, sports lovers feel it is not sufficient. “Many of those who bagged laurels in sports are good at academics too. They mainly fail to score well in examinations as they cannot concentrate on studies for want of time. The grace marks may help them to an extent. It is better that the universities do something concrete if they really wish to support sports,” said Vasant Murdeshwar, lecturer and sports coach.
Prof. Tiwari pointed out that neighbouring States such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu are far ahead in nurturing sports at the college and university levels compared to Karnataka.
“These States have made provisions to consider the achievements in sports on a par with the academic performance and provide more than 25 per cent grace marks for talented sportspersons. Hence, such students need not worry much about academic studies. The gains in sports are properly compensated to losses in academics,” Prof. Tiwari said.
True to the adage “Something is better than nothing,” the Karnatak University has emerged as a trend-setter. Its decision will go a long way in promoting as well as strengthening sports.