The Right to Education – The Right to Play
Government of India adopted the Right to Education Act (RTE) making it legally mandatory to provide Education to all children. The implementation leaves much to be desired but, at least, it is a national law and it has given Education a central place in national policy.
Sadly, a narrow view of Education is the order of the day –it should include Sports. And, it is Sports which teaches children a great deal. Team games like football, Cricket, Kabaddi, Volleyball and hockey teach sharing, cooperation and partnership. Apart from learning to be competitive.
Millions of children who live in urban as well as rural areas are deprived of recreation and sports which is an essential part of life and brings balance and many good qualities to the fore. Playing is critical for children’s balanced development.
The country needs to understand this fact of life which means governments, schools, parents, teachers, etc. Research has shown, for example, the when boys play football and get coaching, there is less impact on them from Drugs, alcohol, crime, violence, etc.
So, the essentiality of sports must be recognized, schools must provide “time for play”, infrastructure for sports must be built and the positive impact of sports strongly supported.
A fallout of this approach would be deeper commitment to competitiveness in sports, higher degree of competence in sports, especially Olympic sports, and the likelihood of more gold medals for India. National pride would be a very positive fallout.
The Right to Play has only a win-win outcome and needs to be a reality.