Marrying educational progress and chasing the sporting dream has been a problem area for most young children and their families in India and more often than not games or PT periods are not the priority in school.
A whole host of experts, mentors and coaches have always emphasised on the need for taking up sport at as young an age as possible.
Speaking to MP Shashi Tharoor on an Instagram Live session, Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri also touched upon how it increases your chances of becoming a professional footballer if you start young.
Both Tharoor and Chhetri are known to be outspoken and agreed that a structured system which marries chasing the sporting dream and education should have a more prominent space in India’s education system.
“I always used to think that I am lagging behind someone who wants to be an engineer because he has around 18 classes a week for him to prosper in his career. And here I want to be a footballer and in school I get only two general PT periods, where you wear white shorts and shoes and play whatever you want. And that's all about it in a whole week. And if you want theory classes, there are none. I was thinking of may be a way where you can bring the two together where kids do not have to leave school because footballers leave school and that's not ideal, that's the worst thing. We should be educated,” Chhetri told his guest.
“I can imagine the situation where kids with genuine sporting talent, which you undoubtedly had, could be put in sports schools, where academic learning could be compressed and more time given to the theory and practical of the sport you want to play,” Tharoor responded.
The well-travelled Tharoor further explained that in his constituency in Thiruvananthapuram, there was something similar but nothing close to the need of the hour.
“I'm sure there are such institutions elsewhere. In my constituency, we have a National Centre for Physical Education under Sports Authority of India and that centre offers courses in sports and train sportsmen and athletes. But that is after you get out of school by when you presumably become good enough in your sport to get into these places or you miss the boat altogether. So I agree we should have something like that at school level too.”