In order to develop sports activities in Bengaluru and around the country, more and more sports management companies are engaging directly with schools.
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Attribute it to the lack of playground or lack of space in the schools or sports in itself being not inclusive, various schools have employed a cluster of companies like Edusports, Leap Start, Khel Point and Sports Mentor to kickstart sporting activities. These companies primarily provide sports coaches and train in various sports to students.
Bengaluru-headquartered Edusports which started in 2009, feels that the kids around the country are not playing up because the sports is not inclusive. The company claims that with EduSports they are trying impart right skills and fitness to all the kids. In Bengaluru alone, the company caters to 40 schools that include the likes of DPS and Kumarans.
Saumil Majmudar, co-founder, EduSports says that the education is not complete if the schools don’t have same structural quality of rigor , curriculum, assessment, program monitoring with sports as in academics. He adds, "There is a very nice structure followed, say for example when maths is taught. If one is a genius and the other is a relatively poor student more time is spent on the poor (underperformer) student. But in sports it is just opposite."
This seems to trigger the company’s motto is to integrate sports with the education. And to build this platform EduSports has built a curriculum with standards set by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, a professional body in the US. It focusses on the right exercises and training to make the kids more fitter, in order to build a sustainable sports physique.
Ask Saumil what is the guaranteed by-product on the services of EduSports, he replies, "Whenever anyone plays any sport, why should he think that he will become a sports person. He or she can just play sports to specialise, to be fit. Like academics when we learn maths and science when don’t need to be a mathematician."
The sheer arguments of whether the kids need to play can be understood from 3rd edition of the EduSports School Health and Fitness Survey covering around 49,000 children from over 100 schools in India. "School going children across the country are headed for an unhealthy and unfit adult life as they possess poor body strength, poor flexibility and have undesirable BMI (Body Mass Index) scores", the study reported.
It covered 49046 children in the age group 7 to 17 years from 104 schools in 54 cities across 18 states. The assessments were done in the academic year 2011-12 and covered 7 basic fitness indicators. They were: endurance, anaerobic capacity/explosive power, flexibility, body strength (upper, lower, abdominal) and BMI or body mass index.
One of the major findings was that one out of four children in the metros is overweight.
Taking a different approach, with a USP of ‘we create champions’ is the Bangalore-based company Khel Point , a 3 months-old startup. Khel Point focusses on ‘teaching the sports right’ from the beginning.
Khel Point is eyeing government and low investment schools as of now. According to the company, most youth who yearn to go into sports are from the tier 2 schools. To drive this, the company has tied up with Rotary since Rotary has a tradition of adopting schools. Sahkari Vidya Kendra in Jayanagar and Elite School in Austin Town, Neelasandra are some of schools the company caters to in their sporting activity.
Srinivas Kumar, founder, Khel Point feels that private schools have good investments and they do not really need external help. He says, "We want to grow organically as this is an operationally challenged environment. We want to cater to two sports a years for boys and girls i.e. basketball and badminton. Student like badminton because of Saina Nehwal and basketball because they think it will help increase in their height and physical fitness."
The company utilises the physical training periods in schools and engages with each class for over 40-45 minutes.
Both the companies have faced similar challenges in initially meeting schools and convincing them of the need and scope for sports education.
EduSports says that meeting school leaders itself was a problem in the early stages. Also, they found out that most of the people don’t agree that sports is not inclusive in their school, especially in the metros like Bengaluru.⊕