Maken new proposal to give marks to students for fitness

New Delhi: In a bid to ensure better health and and promote sports culture among kids, Sports Minister Ajay Maken today came up with a proposal under which school children will get marks for their physical fitness.

Currently marks and grades are linked to academic performance, but the new proposal seeks to give some weightage to physical fitness in schools all over the country.

While unveiling the exposure draft on National Physical Fitness Programme (NPFP), which is at a discussion stage, Maken said in order to ensure fitness among all school children, a system needs to be put in place that would assess and ascertain a child`s physical fitness from class V onwards.

Stating that the scheme needs to be motivational rather than coercive, Maken said, "The achievement of fitness by a child has to be rewarded in a manner similar to reward for academic achievement."

According to the proposed draft, the top 10 percentage of gender wise performers shall be given an additional 3 per cent to the percentage obtained by him/her in academic disciplines.

Subsequently, performers between top 10 to 20 percentage will get additional 2.5 per cent, performers between 20 to 30 percentage will get 2 per cent, between 30 to 40 percentage will get 1.5 per cent and between 40 to 50 percentage will get additional 1 per cent weightage in their marking, which may be converted into grades as per prevalent norms.

"The aim is to bring about a change in the attitude among not only the children but general public. The programme can bring about a cultural change," said Maken.

The student`s performance would be graded and fed into the child`s `Assessment Card` and the school`s `Fitness Assessment Forms` as designed by the Lakshmibai National University for Physical Education (LNUPE), Gwalior.

It is also proposed that six National Physical Fitness Awards be constituted and awarded by the President of India at the Annual National Sports Day function.

The awards may be in the category of Best Performing State, District and School as also for the State, District and School that has improved the most during the last one year.

Maken also said that he would like the programme to act as a talent hunt for youngsters, who could be groomed into future sporting stars of the country.

After a comprehensive exercise, six basic components of physical fitness have been evolved – cardio respiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, explosive strength and body composition (percentage of body fat).

The programme envisages that every school-going child studying in class V and above, must be evaluated on the above mentioned six components of physical fitness.

The draft exposure will be available in public domain for comments and suggestions from general public as well as stake holders for the next 30 days.

Consultations with the State Governments, Ministry of Human Resource Development and other stake holders will be undertaken, thereafter a committee of experts comprising representatives from the field of education, health and sports will be constituted to look into the suggestions and points that emerge out of discussion with stakeholders before it is being finalised.