Physical education now a viable career option

By Abhishek Roy, IANS

New Delhi : Looking for a career in sports and physical education? Don’t be disheartened.

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Academics from some of India’s prominent universities running these courses say there are opportunities galore in the field, since health is a cause for increasing concern among the teeming millions of India.

Universities and other educational institutions have also realised the importance of sports and physical education as a viable career option as well.

“Health has always been a matter of great concern for us. We can never ignore it. But now in this fast moving world we are neglecting it as we don’t have time for ourselves,” V. Satyanarayana, head of the department of physical education in Osmania University, Hyderabad, told IANS.

“This is the place where the need for a specialist physical instructor comes in. Nowadays we have become health conscious and are joining gyms, yoga and aerobics classes and specialists in these fields are much in demand,” he said.

Osmania University, which produced cricketers like M.L. Jaisimha and Mohammed Azharuddin as well as renowned sports broadcaster Harsha Bhogle, offers physical education courses in both under-graduate and post-graduate levels.

Similar courses are also available in Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, and Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education (LNIPE), Gwalior, which is the only deemed university in Asia in the field.

Calcutta, Bangalore and Kerala universities also have such degree and postgraduate courses.

Not to be left behind, Delhi University has now decided to start a three-year degree course from the current academic year. It also plans to start a master’s course well before the first batch graduates.

Over half a dozen colleges affiliated to the university have already agreed to introduce the course and admissions are expected to start soon.

“There is increasing interest in sports in our country. And there is a need for proper training and guidance to these enthusiasts. So we are promoting physical education and sports science as a subject in various universities,” University Grants Commission chairman S.K. Thorat said.

The physical education course is divided in two parts – theory and application. The former deals with the science of physical education while the latter involves practical training in different sporting activities, fitness programmes, aerobics, gym operations, sports and event management and also sports journalism.

LNIPE vice-chancellor Shibnath Mukhrejee feels this is a wide field and students opting for specialised courses in physical education and sports sciences can also get into coaching and psychology and team management.

“There has been an urgent need to redefine the concepts of physical education and coaching in different sports. Coaches need to stay up-to-date in order to face the challenges posed by sports academies and coaching centres,” he said.

“Students who opt for such courses land up with coaching and other sports related jobs. We also have certificate programmes for coaches and only persons who have represented at least their university in a sport are eligible.”

Mukherjee added that LNIPE, run by the ministry of sports and youth affairs, also offers an adventure sports course which help people gain international assignments, thanks to the booming tourism sector.

“Tourism is a booming industry globally. And there are a lot of resorts and hotels investing in adventure sports to attract tourists. So a degree in adventure sports will always come handy for a job in this sector,” he said.

But the lack of support from sports administrators hampers growth in this sector.

“We need more support from the sports federations because our students need more practical exposure. But we don’t get any help from these bodies,” said Mukherjee.

Osmania’s Satyanarayana went to the extent of saying that sports federations are run by politicians who are hardly familiar with the finer points and don’t care either.

“Almost all sports federations are run by politicians who know nothing about sports. We need to have the right person in the right place. People who can understand things and help us,” he said.