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‘A sound mind in a sound body’ is well-known quote by the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Thales, which demonstrates the close links between physical exercise, mental equilibrium and the ability to enjoy life.
This quote highlights the importance of holistic development of individuals, which helps them lead an improved quality of life. Physical Education is as old as man himself. In general, life is characterized by movement. Movement starts from the birth of a child and continues till the end of life.
In my opinion, Physical Education is one of the most exciting, engaging and dynamic subjects. This subject has changed dramatically over the last 60 years. Earlier, it was generally understood as physical activities – either in the school timetable or some free-hand exercises, games, sports, racing, calisthenics, etc.
The National plan of education (1956) states that, “Physical education should aim at making the child physically, mentally and emotionally fit and developing personal and social qualities which will help to live happily with others and build a good citizen”. It further emphasises that the development of the total personality and achievement of worthy citizenship, motivated for service should be the outcomes of physical education. According to the Ministry of Education and National Planning for Physical Education and Recreation, “The aim of physical education must be to make every child physically, mentally and emotionally fit and also to develop in them personal and social qualities that will help to live happily with others.”
The Physical education programme should also aim to build good citizens of the country. According to the Central Advisory Board of Physical Education and Recreation, “Physical education is the process of education through physical activities. It is the development of the total personality of the child to its fullness and perfection in body, mind and spirit.” Sports and physical education are an integral part of the learning process, and need to be included in the evaluation of performance.
Prominent Definitions of Physical Education
- Charles A. Bucher has defined Physical Education as an “Integral part of total educational process, is a field of endeavour which has its aim – the development of physically, mentally, emotionally and socially fit citizens through the medium of physical activities which have been selected with a view to realise these outcomes.”
- According to the American Alliance for health, physical education, recreation and dance, “Physical Education is education through physical activities which are selected and carried with regard to value in human growth, development and behaviour”.
All across our country we require infrastructure for physical education, sports and games. The infrastructure consists of playfields, equipment, coaches and teachers of physical education. Available open spaces in urban areas can be used for playgrounds and we must all make an effort to tap the natural talent present in rural areas. Due importance should be given to indigenous traditional games.
If we look at the Indian history of physical education after Independence, a number of schemes were launched by the Government of India for schools, where each student was required to participate in physical activities. We can witness the growing interest in games and sports exemplified by the fitness boom and the wellness movement. Sports events receive worldwide coverage. In schools, students enjoy sports and other forms of physical activities, which help to achieve and maintain their health and well-being.
A few years ago, we saw the fitness test being introduced and subsequently, scores for fitness; and recently ‘Khelo India’ was launched to promote sports in schools and universities. The ‘Khelo India’ and ‘Fit India’ movements have been successful in raising awareness, tapping talent, and encouraging people to participate in sports and stay fit. To conclude, physical education as an academic subject is interdisciplinary in nature, and a holistic approach to the subject is important for overall development.
- The article was originally published in Career Ahead October 2021 issue.