Be a sport!

Ambika Shaligram
Tuesday, 27 June 2017

SHAPE India, a physical education organisation, is designing a sports curriculum for schools and focusing on developing the foundational skills of students. Raju Deb, director of SHAPE India, explains their plans

SHAPE India, a physical education organisation, is designing a sports curriculum for schools and focusing on developing the foundational skills of students. Raju Deb, director of SHAPE India, explains their plans

A former National-level gymnast from Tripura, practising with poor infrastructure, Raju Deb, knows what he is talking when he pitches the idea for SHAPE India before schools. SHAPE stands for School Health And Physical Education organisation and was co-founded by Deb and his partners in 2015.

“The aim,” says Deb, “is to provide structured sports curriculum at the foundation level to students.” They have a two-tier format — Fitkidz programme for Kindergarten to Std II students. And, Activsport programme designed and developed for Std III to V students.

“During our pilot project and research, we realised that we are lacking in terms of a structured programme at the primary level. It’s in secondary school, usually Std VI onwards, that sports tournaments are held. But if the base is not perfect, or the kids don’t have correct skills, then their growth as a sportsman suffers,” explains Deb.

So the SHAPE India team has devised a PE curriculum, in association with sports faculty of Savitribai Phule Pune University. “School boards have guidelines on how to conduct PE/ PT classes, but no curriculum to implement. So we are engaged in the development of a sports curriculum for schools along with my professors of Savitribai Phule Pune University. We are also looking at training of PE teachers and developing skill sets of children,” he adds.

SHAPE India is also referring to the guidelines of National Association for Sports and Physical Education of America in designing the curriculum, besides making it a fun activity for kids.

“It has often been the case that if kids get injured or hurt by football, or don’t do well in the first class, they start disliking the game altogether. So we want to make our classes in school fun and skill oriented,” says Deb, adding that they have tied up with 50 city schools.

SHAPE India trainers make use of various fun props and child-friendly equipment in their twice-a-week classes. “We have foam balls for younger kids to play football with. The size of the ball is also much smaller,” informs Deb.

Their curriculum also takes into account seasonal factors, lack of school grounds and other facilities, etc. “Our objective is to reach out to more kids, to conduct classes, develop their skills like passing, catching, running and so on, and help them find out their knack for the game. Space is no deterrent. We have conducted classes in basements too,” says Deb.

The team also evaluates the skills of students twice a year, testing them on their stamina, fitness and other attributes like team spirit, sportsmanship, etc.

They also hold intra-class and inter-class tournaments for students to motivate and build the competitive spirit in them.

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