Fitness programme from November 14

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The ambitious programme of the Kerala Sports Council to take the physical fitness of around 32 lakh schoolchildren in the State to the next level will be formally launched by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan here on November 14.

Education Minister M.A. Baby and Sports and Youth Affairs Minister M. Vijayakumar told a news conference here on Sunday that with the launch of the programme, Kerala would become the first State in the country to go in for a total physical fitness regimen for all schoolchildren. The launch of the programme would also imply inclusion of sports as a component of the curriculum at the school level. Discussions were also on to extend the programme to the graduate and postgraduate levels in colleges, they said.

Mr. Vijayakumar said the objective of the programme was to enhance the physical, mental, social and emotional health of school students to enable them to lead a happy life, to create a sense of discipline, self-control, confidence and team spirit in them and to develop the skills of students so as to make their athletes and sportspersons in disciplines of their choice. The practice so far was to limit the activities at the school level to training in sport and athletic events. The aim of the programme was to create a culture of physical fitness for all students. The government had already earmarked sufficient funds to improve the facilities for physical training in the districts, he said. The Education Minister said the government was aware of the limitations of a massive intervention in the sphere of physical education and admitted that one of the handicaps was the absence of sufficient number of physical education teachers in schools. The government proposed to circumvent this by grouping schools into clusters and appointing teachers in stages.

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