Nothing like a quick game of kho kho, volley ball or football when it comes to relaxing after a class on trigonometry or Newton's Laws. Almost all students look forward to that one or two physical education classes in their weekly time-table.

However, with most schools giving preference to students' academic track record over their performance in sports, discussions around the need for giving physical education adequate attention in the school curriculum have surfaced again.

Syllabus revision

To start with, the State's School Education Department is in the process of revising its physical education syllabus, as part of its larger syllabus review exercise to implement Samacheer Kalvi.

According to Director of School Education, P. Permalsamy, the term physical education is being expanded to include aspects of health and yoga too. “We are in the process of evolving a comprehensive syllabus,” he says.

Sources involved in the syllabus revision process said that attempts were being made to design textbooks with information on health aspects of sports, outcomes of particular games.

Evaluation of students would be done by grading them for parameters such as speed, strength and endurance.

Frequency of classes

Frequency of physical education classes in the weekly time-table has also come into focus. S. Sankaraperumal, president of the Tamil Nadu Physical Education Teachers – Physical Directors Association, said currently, classes VI – XII had weekly two periods allocated for the subject. “We are asking the Department to consider introducing at least one period for primary classes, too,” he says.

This has largely been the case so far, in most schools affiliated to the State Board. Most of the CBSE schools have been able to allocate two classes per week for physical education, says Ajit Prasad Jain, senior principal, Bhavan's Rajaji Vidyashram. It is only in classes VI to XII that the frequency came down in some schools.

“After the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) was introduced, the schools are being asked to ensure that students, particularly those in classes IX and X, are actively taking part in any two games,” he says.

The National Curriculum Framework 2005 also emphasises the need for a renewed look at physical education syllabi.

The position paper by the National Focus Group on Health and Physical Education observed that the evaluation for physical education has been divided into theory and practicals with 70 per cent and 30 per cent weightage respectively.

Why written exam?

It also questions the need for a written examination for physical education.

The position paper recommends that physical education be made a compulsory subject up to class X and be treated on a par with the core subjects so that students wishing to opt for it can do so in lieu of one of the five subjects for the board exams at the end of Class X.

In plus two it maybe offered as an elective subject, it adds.

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Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012