BJP MLA Rajeshwar Singh has urged the Union government to bring a legislation that mandates a compulsory physical fitness period in schools that will help to combat the rising cases of obesity and diabetes among children. The Uttar Pradesh legislator has written a letter to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan early this week expressing his concern over the issue and that there was “no single legislation which governs all the schools in India”.
“I propose that Parliament introduce a legislation to govern the inclusion, access, and provision of basic physical health and fitness to all children in the education system.
“The proposed legislation should seek to mandate all such institutions to have a 45 minute time slot every day dedicated to imparting physical fitness to all students, be it through yoga and exercise, or sports and physical activities,” Singh wrote in the letter, citing relevant official data.
The MLA from the Sarojini Nagar seat in Lucknow quoted data to state that around 5-8.8 per cent of school children are obese in India and if the rates continue to increase at this pace, India will be home to 27 million obese children by 2030. Childhood obesity, he wrote in his letter dated December 14, is particularly troubling because it has a ripple effect causing a plethora of health problems like diabetes that were once considered to be adult problems.
“It is an indisputable reality that our children are becoming extremely focused on academic excellence in an ever-growing competitive environment. “For this very reason we should ensure that schools make physical education exercise an integral part of the academic curriculum itself,” he said.
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He also said that the health parameters of students should be made “a mandatory part” of the student’s progress reports, thereby mainstreaming the physical and mental well-being of students as an integral part of their overall progress, which till now has been restricted to academic excellence.
He said while some measures have been taken in the past to address the issue of absence of physical activities in schools, like the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 pushing for ‘sports integrated learning’ and Uttar Pradesh announcing a ‘sports ecosystem’ policy in September, more needs to be done on this front.
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Singh said that as children are left in the care of schools from 6 am to 3 pm everyday, the onus of not just their mental but even their physical well-being resides with them. “On returning home, they are burdened with academic homework and tests, which further limits their physical activity. In this regard it is in entirety the responsibility of schools to mandate 45 minutes of daily physical exercise for all students through activities such as Yoga, sports and physical training,” he wrote.
A former Enforcement Directorate and UP Police officer, Singh also suggested that public representatives like MPs and MLAs should be “encouraged” to attend school athletic meets in their respective constituencies and mass media campaigns should be launched to spread the message of good physical health among school-going children.
(This report has been published as part of the auto-generated syndicate wire feed. Apart from the headline, no editing has been done in the copy by ABP Live.)