Vasanth Bharadwaj, Co-Founder and former Table Tennis International, TENVIC, shares his views on the development of sports education school
How do you see the acceptance of sports education in school curriculum?
Although sport education in India has evolved in the past few years, there is no denying that there is lack of structure and scientific approach to coaching. Developing competency in sports has to start along with physical education and fitness at a young age, but schools still have some way to go towards adopting a sporting culture at the grassroots levels and towards having people with the right set of competencies to train children at a particular sport. That’s the differentiator we bring in and that is what we offer.
Our engagement with parents has helped us in understanding certain assumptions that we made. Apart from being encouraging they are far more involved than we thought. A lot of parents’ especially in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities realise that sports is an important element in a child’s upbringing. Parents have also moved to a stage where sports finds immense acceptance as a potential career for their child. None of the schools we approached, have dismissed the need. However there are still schools that have not yet embraced sports as an integral element. Generally speaking, schools, parents and teachers are very receptive and understanding. They are also fascinated by the fact that we are focusing on it with the same level of structure and method as the treatment proffered to an academic curriculum. They like that because it aligns very well with the way they function today.
How important are the private partnerships for school in providing better sports facilities?
Although schools are realising the importance of sports education, not many have the necessary infrastructure, time and manpower to train students in the right manner. A private partnership will help bridge this gap, by providing trained coaches and guidance on infrastructure and curriculum and also by understanding the needs of grassroots sport development. With schools keeping focus towards academic excellence, a private partnership will provide these schools a focused approach to sports.
What are the challenges in sports education in India?
Public Private Partnerships (PPP) is the way forward in developing the quality of sport. The key challenges faced today in sports pertain to availability of quality infrastructure and this is a significant area in which the government can have an impact. The actual skills pertaining to the sport can be handled by professionals operating in the private sector as well, with the right kind of competencies. However, the government has been showing impetus towards the development of a sporting culture in India and some of the changes we see around are a result of that.
Being an eminent sportsperson, please highlight your contribution to the development of sports among students?
Having seen the sport from a player’s perspective as well as a coach’s perspective, I understand the needs of both stakeholders. Our model is to engage with schools and to make structured sport available to every level of the society. While the content offering is world class we have got the best brains in the world to come together, spending time with us and developing content which is modular and also scientific. So our model is to engage with schools, carry these offers for them, look at the infrastructural facilities and limitations they might have and offer this option there, which is clearly credit based. Today we have the vision and goal to address 20-25,000 students in next two year.
We have signed around 11 schools across India and are in the process of signing a couple of major school groups in the South. You might also be aware of the validation that TTFI (Table Tennis Federation of India) has given our ‘train the trainer’ model. We have also executed multi-sport summer camps across North and South India this year and have observed good turnouts for the same. //