There are several sport education and sport development programmes which if incorporated in education system at appropriate levels can bring behavioral changes and develop tolerance and empathy
Mashal Khan was brutally murdered by fellow students in Mardan University. Naureen Laghari, a medical student, received militant training in Syria and joined the militant IS group. Politically influential people killed twin brothers in Sialkot. An angry mob torched a cathedral near Faisalabad. Drugs have been recovered from college and university students in elite education institutions. This all happened in just one month — April 2017. Incidents like these continue till date.
Isn’t it alarming? How much more evidence is required by our policy makers to understand that there is something drastically wrong with our education system, which fails to promote reasoning, dialogue, and tolerance.
What our education system has produced over last three decades is a tragic episode of lack of direction. Unfortunately, most of the constructive and healthy activities like sports and student unions have been banned, giving way to extremism and intolerance.
Sports was a permanent and inclusive component of the British Education System inherited by Pakistan and it is still the cornerstone in the advanced education systems of the world. It was only the strong sports presence in the education system that produced a number of international athletes in Pakistan who won many laurels for the country.
If one carefully studies the established elite sports systems of the world, including SPLISS model that revolves around 9 pillars of policy actions, one can easily say that it’s not possible to develop any sports system in the world without solid sports foundation in education institutions and community-based clubs.
Sports in education system not only produced athletes of international standard but also helped in developing wonderful personalities with great qualities of head and heart.
Education institutions used to present a festive and healthy environment, where sports and other co-curricular activities were instrumental in carving the character of the students.
With multiple and confusing education systems booming unchecked in a rudderless society, we are producing highly indisciplined, physically unfit, fast food eating youngsters who remain awake at night chatting on cell phones or a class which is extremist and violent.
It is very unfortunate that our physical education curriculum is outdated and the resource persons employed in this field are clueless about the new developments in the field of sports sociology, sports science and sports for development.
There are several sport education and sport development programmes which if incorporated in education system at appropriate levels can bring behavioral changes and develop tolerance and empathy.
One such programme offered by a renowned Sport for Development organization is “R-C-A” or “Reflect, Connect and Apply”. In this programe, leadership, team work, tolerance, communication and discipline are developed through coloured ball philosophies. These techniques get imprinted in the subconscious and help in realizing important life skills in years to come.
Pakistan’s future generation stands at a critical tipping point. The country needs to develop avenues to harness the potential of its demographic dividend, the youth, estimated to make up nearly half of a 300 million population by 2050. But at the same time, Pakistan’s performance in achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) over the past 17 years has remained unsatisfactory. The country only partially achieved the eight MDGs.
I am afraid that poor policy decisions made by leaders like General Zia Ul Haq to separate sports from education have made our education institutions unable to produce balanced personalities.
I urge all leading sportsmen of the country to unite on one page not to secure positions in national sports bodies and associations but to pressurise the government to generously allocate finances for developing and promoting sports in education institutions, so that not only a culture for healthy sports activities is developed but important social virtues are also inculcated in the youth.
I also urge them to offer their services to coach different sports. I am afraid that if we fail to do so, we have no future in the competitive market place of fast developing international sports.