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Apex Court seeks states' response on questionnaire

Apex Court seeks states response on questionnaire

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday directed all states to respond to a questionnaire prepared by a senior advocate, who is assisting it as an amicus curiae, on whether to include sports in curriculum from elementary to higher education.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said this after senior lawyer Gopal Sankaranarayanan said he has received replies of eight states on the issue so far but the responses are not cohesive and are vague.

He told the bench, also comprising justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, that he has prepared a two-page questionnaire so that the states could answer on specific issues related to the matter.

The bench allowed Sankaranarayanan to circulate the questionnaire among all the states and directed them to respond within three weeks.

The apex court was hearing a plea seeking to include sports in the educational curriculum from elementary to higher education.

The amicus curiae, in his questionnaire, has asked various questions concerning the state governments and the state boards of education, including the details of various policies and steps taken for development of sports education and whether the state and union territories provide specific funding or aid for sporting infrastructure in schools.

The states will also have to respond as to what steps they have taken for promotion of sports education for differently-abled and whether they have any programme for promoting national sport, Hockey, in schools.

"Does the state board of education mandate for sports to be included in every class timetable? If so, how many hours a week are earmarked for sports? How many are the total hours of classes in the week?," the questionnaire asks. "What is the minimum qualification to be a sports instructor/ teacher in schools?..." it adds.

It also asked state boards' view on inclusion of sports as a compulsory subject, including its evaluation at the 10th and 12th/pre-university levels.

The court had earlier sought responses of the Centre and all states and union territories on the plea which has said that education and sports were inseparable and if academic education coupled with sports and its values was imparted, it will surely develop better human qualities among children.

"Children will be able to cope with prevailing challenges and life pressures in modern world and their confidence and patience level will also be strong through sports activities and competition involved in sports," the plea has said.

The plea has sought directions to the Centre to take steps to include sports among the fundamental rights and form an independent 'Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth Empowerment' at both Union and State levels.

It has said that directions should be issued to the Centre and state governments to make suitable amendments in their academic and sports education policies to promote sports at all levels of education.

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