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No trainers, no sports ground, no training either – Times of India

Chennai: Lessons in boxing, judo, beach volleyball, gymnastics and squash in schools introduced by the education department in 2022 seem to be fizzling out due to a lack of infrastructure and manpower.The burden of training students in multiple sports (sometimes 5-6 different sports) often falls on a single trainer. Such was the case for K Sivagamasundari, who has been the PE trainer at Saidapet’s corporation higher secondary school for 24 years. Despite students’ interest and potential, the absence of specialised coaches leaves aspiring athletes to seek training outside the premises, she said. For instance, a Class IX student had to pursue boxing training outside of school due to the absence of coaches on campus. “Students were hopeful when the programme was kicked off, but many students miss out on campus training,” she added.Chief education officers also point out vacancies across schools, adding to the strain on existing staff. “We are compiling data on the vacancies. Meanwhile, we ask volunteers from non-governmental organisations to step in and train students,” city chief education officer S Mars. Either schools don’t have enough trainers or enough space for sports. There is no sports ground in the corporation school in Arumbakkam, said headmistress Andal. Hence, there is no permanent PE staff either. A Vasuki, Headmistress of Jaigopal Garodia Govt Girls Secondary School in Virugambakkam recalled how the school recorded 100% attendance for the first time when the school held its first sports carnival in Jan. Teachers say the programme is well-intended but it is time to address these issues. Tournaments such as Khelo India are encouraging students to enter sports, but without trainers, we are not able to engage students in sports, she added.

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