Inculcating a more serious sports culture in schools

Under a new framework, several new recruitments and activities are being planned and proposed 

Education: To foster holistic development and deliver quality education in schools the Department of Youth and Sports (DYS) has developed several activities as part of its Sports and Physical Activity programme.

The activities include recruitment of full time professional sports personnel to carry out sports and physical activities effectively and in a sustainable manner.

School Sports Instructors (SSIs) with sporting backgrounds are recruited in schools to develop a sporting culture among the students. DYS’s sports administrator, Nima Gyeltshen, said that as of last year there are 100 SSIs placed in various schools.

The SSI programme was first started in 2008 where 50 class XII graduates were recruited on two-year contracts with provision for further extensions. According to officials the SSIs are responsible for promoting mass participation among students, imparting sports knowledge and skills, and coordinating sports events at schools and at the dzongkhag level.

To promote quality sports development in the schools, the department is also proposing to recruit a full time Health and Physical Education (HPE) teacher and a SSI each in all schools.

Nima Gyeltshen said that apart from a handful of certified HPE teachers in primary schools, there are no HPE teachers in the higher schools. “Most of the HPE classes in the primary schools are taught by academic teachers which is not appropriate,” he said. “Individuals with sports backgrounds are required to teach the HPE classes and conduct sporting activities in the school.”

He added that the proposal also includes a minimum qualification while recruiting a HPE teacher or an SSI instructor in schools. A minimum of Bachelors of Education or a degree is required to become a qualified HPE teacher and for SSIs a minimum of a diploma in sports is required.

The HPE is curriculum based within the instructional hours while the SSP (School Sports Programme) is conducted as a co-curricular activity after school programmes.

The activities and proposals are in line with the National Strategic Framework for Schools Sports and Physical Activity developed by the department.

Officials said that in the absence of a strategic framework, the implementation of the school sports programme depended largely on the interest and initiatives of the school leaders, which often raised the question of sustainability of such activities.

Nima Gyeltshen said that the national strategic framework was a roadmap for developing sporting activities in schools with clearer targets, better implementation strategies, key interventions and specified responsibilities of the stakeholders.

“Our main idea behind these activities is to develop the students and help them grow in a wholesome manner,” said Nima Gyeltshen. “We are not promoting sports but we are helping out youths build their physical, emotional and cognitive abilities through the means of games and sports.”

Younten Tshedup 

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