Health and Physical Education
It is well acknowledged that health is a multidimensional concept and is shaped by biological, physical, psychological, social, economic, cultural and political factors. Access to basic needs like food, safe water supply, housing, sanitation, and health services influences the health status of a population and these are reflected through mortality, morbidity and nutritional indicators.
An analysis of the mortality and nutritional indicators from the pre-school, primary, secondary and senior secondary levels show that under -nutrition and communicable diseases are the major health problems faced by majority of the children in this country.
Therefore health is a critical input for the overall development of the child since it influences significantly enrolment, retention, and completion of school.
This subject area adopts a holistic definition of health within which physical education and yoga contribute to the physical, social, emotional and mental aspects of a child’s development.
The basic understanding is that health of children contributes to their healthy living in the future and also provides the base for performance in the chosen area of work.
The curriculum design for this area addresses the health and physical fitness needs of children at different levels of schooling with special attention to vulnerable social groups and girl children. It is proposed that the mid day meal programme and health check-ups must be a part of this subject and health and physical education must be related to the needs of the children and also address the age specific concerns at different stages of development.
The idea of a comprehensive school health programme was conceived of in the 1940’s that included six major components viz. medical care, hygienic school environment, and school lunch, health, yoga and physical education. But unfortunately the implementation of this comprehensive approach was extremely weak that resulted in its transaction in a fragmented manner that lacked a holistic or comprehensive approach.
As a result the subject of health and physical education is being dealt with separately and the curriculum is being transacted conventionally with little knowledge that all the three areas are integral to achieving holistic health.
Given the interdisciplinary nature of this subject there are cross cutting themes across subjects. Therefore there is a need for cross-curricular planning and also integrating it with socially useful productive work, National Service Scheme, Bharat Scouts and Guides and the like.
This subject lends itself for applied learning and innovative approaches can be adopted for transacting the curriculum. Physical education inclusive of yoga, have to be a regular part of the school’s timetable and must be seen as an important contribution for the overall development of the child.
This would require flexibility in the school calendar and also in the structuring of school timetable in terms of the time and space allotted for integration of this subject area.
The importance of this subject to the overall development needs to be reinforced at the policy level, with administrators, other subject teachers in schools, the public health department, parents and children.
There are several ways in which this can be done and would include the recognition of the subject as compulsory in the curriculum, that the required infrastructure and human resources are in place, that there is adequate teacher preparation and also in-service training, that there is interface between the school, health department and the community. Although the subject is compulsory till class X, it is not given its due importance.
It has been suggested that it be treated as a core subject and students who wish to opt for it as one of the core subjects in lieu of another subject may be allowed to do so. This subject should be offered as an elective subject at the plus two level.
The curriculum and syllabus for this subject has to adopt a ‘need based’ approach to a child’s development. This is the framework that will guide the inclusion of physical, psycho-social and mental aspects that need to be addressed at different levels of schooling.
A basic understanding of the concerns need to be delineated but this subject has an applied dimension that needs strengthening through experiential learning, acquiring skills to recognize and cope with demands, expectations and responsibilities of
daily living, the collective responsibilities for health and community living also need to be emphasized.
During the last two decades several National health programmes like the Reproductive and Child Health, HIV/AIDs; Tuberculosis and Mental Health have been emphasizing on health education and children are viewed as a potential ‘target group’ for preventive and promotive activities. The concern with this approach is that the focus is on giving information and each of these programmes are independent of one another.
This creates demands on the teachers and children to deal with each of these concerns and they are not integrated into the existing curriculum.
This subject offers enormous potential for the adoption of innovative strategies and the experiences of quasi government programmes and several NGOs across the country who have worked with schools on issues relating to health and physical education needs to reviewed, assessed and integrated into curriculum planning, development of syllabi and pedagogy.
The evaluation of this subject needs plurality of strategies, which should be a part of continuous and comprehensive evaluation.
Health And Physical Education AIM
To provide the required theoretical and practical inputs in order to provide an integrated and holistic understanding and developing positive attitudes, values, skills and behaviour related to health and physical education at the primary, secondary and senior secondary levels.
Health And Physical Education Objectives
- To help children know and accept individual and collective responsibility for healthy living at home, school and in the community.
- To help children know their health status, identify health problems and be informed for taking appropriate remedial measures.
- To create awareness among children about rules of safety in appropriate hazardous situations to avoid accidents and injuries. To acquaint them with first-aid measures about common sickness and injuries.
- To help children learn correct postural habits in standing, walking, running, sitting and other basic movements so as to avoid postural defects and physical deformities.
- To help children improve their neuromuscular coordination through participation in a variety of physical activities in order to physical fitness.
- To help children strive for excellence in games and sports.
- To provide skills for dealing with psycho-social issues in the school, home and the community
- To help children grow as responsible citizens by inculcating in them certain social and moral values through games, sports, N.C.C., Red Cross, Scouts & Guides etc.
- To inculcate values and skills in children in order to promote self-control, concentration, peace and relaxation to avoid the ill effects of stress, strain and fatigue of routine everyday life.
- To address the physical, psycho-social needs of differently abled children in an integrated fashion.
Inputs required for transaction of subject area:
- The major components that have to be included in the school health programme include medical care, hygienic school environment, and school lunch, health and physical education. The School Health Programme has to be a coordinated effort between the education and health departments with the latter providing preventive, curative and promotive services at all levels of schooling.
- The components of the school health programme must be an integral part of ‘Health and Physical education’. Infact health and nutrition programmes should form the basis for health and nutrition education rather than just focusing on ‘creating awareness’ in children about what they should eat, especially when a large percentage of children do not have access to adequate food. Therefore the mid day meal programme must become a part of the curriculum of this subject along with regular medical check ups and follow up.
- The education department must coordinate efforts with the health department and where the public health services are weak alternative strategies like involving local NGOs and practitioners must explored.
For health, yoga and physical education there needs to be minimum of outdoor and indoor facilities coupled with proper ventilation and sanitation in the classroom and school premises at the primary, secondary and senior secondary levels Given the interdisciplinary nature of the area there is a need for cross curricular planning and need to be integrated with science. Social science, language and other relevant subjects from the primary to senior secondary levels addressing both the theoretical and applied dimensions.
Science subjects must integrate the health dimensions for topics that are related to health issues
There is a need to review the curriculum, syllabus and pedagogy of the teacher’s training programme for health, physical education and yoga offered by different colleges, institutions and deemed universities in this area within the conceptual framework offered by the focus group.
All teacher education courses must include health, yoga and physical education as a compulsory subject.
Descriptive and impact studies be commissioned to review the status of this subject in school education and document alternative experiences in this area.
There is a need to try the approach suggested for this area on a pilot basis across different types of schools and only then up scaled.
For effective implementation of this subject advocacy is required at different levels of the education and health systems.
The group strongly recommends that the curricular area must guide the scope and determine the appropriateness of the design, materials and pedagogy that are prescribed by health programmes as interventions in the school curriculum. This is critical because several of these programmes are tied to external funding and decisions are made at the central and state levels.
Framework of Syllabus
For effective implementation of the subject of Health and Physical Education, the committee identified several broad themes and these included:
- We and our environment
- Human Body; physical fitness and health
- Food and Nutrition
- Social Health and relationships with others
- Safety and Security
- Consumer Health; vocational and leadership aspects.
Each of these themes has been addressed in a progressive and spiral manner keeping in view the preparedness of the child’s level of development. Certain broad principles have guided the process of syllabus formulation and these are:
- Health education and physical education must not be treated merely as an instructive area since they have strong experiential component to them.
- Some aspects of the subject will draw from other curricular area like environmental science, science and social science. However this subject will have its own core content and therefore needs to be treated on par with other subjects.
- The experiences of NGOs, teacher educators and individual teachers who have been involved in curriculum, syllabi and material development and transaction must be considered for replication and upscaling in rural and urban schools.
- Experiences of ‘vertical programmes’ like the ICDS, midday meal programme, adolescent health (including HIV/AIDS; drug abuse etc) and mental health have been appropriately considered while forming the syllabus.
- In view of the conscious efforts of the government to promote excellence in games and sports, the syllabus provides for indoor and outdoor games for school children. It seeks to create a broad based approach for the enhancement of skills and nurturing potentially talented children in games and sports.
Transaction of Health and Physical Education Syllabus
For effective transaction of this subject, text books, work books and resource books need to be prepared for both children and teachers. For his, there is a need for a creative approach to development of resource materials. The could consider setting up a resource center for materials development, which can help to create a network of individuals and organizations who have had experience in working with this subject. This network can pool and share materials developed by individual organizations that can be accessed by those working with schools.
Physical Education Syllabus
- The proportion of marks in theory and practical may be assigned differently for Health and Physical Education as a compulsory subject (at Xth level) and that as an optional/elective subject at the plus two level.
- Evolve and use the system of Comprehensive and Continuous Evaluation given the applied nature of the subject.
Preparedness required for transacting the syllabus
For the first time this subject is being considered in a holistic manner and hence there are two major areas that need to be addressed for preparedness.
- Textbook, resource book and other relevant materials for both teachers and students.
- Human resource development for both pre service and in service teacher training programmes. For inservice teachers there is a need for both physical education and general teachers to be oriented for the transaction of this subject area. Similarly for preservice teachers, health and physical education must be made compulsory. Institutions at the district, state and national levels can draw on available expertise inorder to facilitate capacity and skill building for this area.
- Need to review and reorient the teacher educator syllabus for ‘Health and Physical Education’.
- The teacher education programmes in Physical Education institutions need consider the inputs suggested in the syllabus.