Thinley Namgay 

Principals from across the country identified students’ active engagement in sports as one of the significant components to institute value-based education.  

Twenty-four principals and vice principals from 20 Dzongkhags and four Thromdes discussed the issue at the “National Seminar For School Principals to Foster Clean Sports Culture Through Value-Based Education” in Punakha organised by the Scouts and Sports Division under the Department of Education Programmes (DEP).   

Officials said that sports could establish positive values such as discipline, responsibility, teamwork, critical thinking, equity, and respect which are important in life.     

Other social issues such as non-communicable diseases, depression, and drug trafficking could be also addressed through sports, according to officials.     

Since last year, sports have become one of the criteria besides academic marks, participation in cultural activities, and interviews to obtain ex-country scholarships. However, participants said that the existing education system is designed in such a way that emphasis is placed more on academics. 

Today, except for some occasional competitions and an hour-long health and physical education class in a week, students don’t get time to engage in sports and other physical activities, they said. 

For instance, students have to concentrate on their studies from 6 am until they go to bed, especially in boarding schools.   

The lack of sports infrastructure and sports instructors has affected the ability of the schools to impart the required knowledge and skills. However, DEP officials said there are 15 sports that do not require infrastructure and would meaningfully engage students and ensure holistic fitness.   

As a measure to promote sports in schools, DEP has plans to re-introduce primary schools’ sports competitions, and also revamp infrastructure in the 13th Plan. 

Participants were also briefed to create awareness among students on anti-doping to inculcate better preventive measures and ensure fair play in every sports competition from an early age.