CHENNAI: At most schools, the arts and science classes have gone online.
But there are some making attempts to get their physical education classes
online as well, a few even outsourcing the sessions.
“We’ve got to keep the children physically, mentally and emotionally fit through these times,” says Bharathi Lakshmi, principal of Hindustan International School.
At Hindustan, when the school “reopens” online this month, PE teachers will conduct exercise classes every morning. “Drills, stretches, aerobics, even dancing, it’s all going to be included,” says Bharathi. While the morning session is optional, there will be a once a week compulsory graded PE class for students. “We’ve got to get them moving,” she says.
In an ASSOCHAM-Primus Survey of online education during the lockdown, released on May 26, it was found that around 90% of the student respondents missed interactions with their teachers, peers, and friends. Of the 500 students surveyed in different states, 51%of the students said they sorely missed their extracurricular activities such as physical education, sports, art, music, and dance.
To get them moving and stretching, The Indian Public School (TIPS) is going the yoga route. Sonali Geed, chief academic officer, says that this month, there will be a daily yoga class for every grade, which will be part of the timetable. “It will be compulsory for students to attend. We wanted to find something that could be done in the home space,” says Geed.
The exercise classes, say the schools, will range from 30 minutes to an hour. The World Health Organisation recommends that children and youth aged five to 17 should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily, with most of it aerobic.
Some schools have decided to outsource the PE classes during the lockdown period. Prathima Koppolu, co-founders of Fitb.ee, which offers online workout regimes for children, says the company is working with several schools in Hyderabad and Chennai to become their official physical education (PE) partners for the next academic year. “We will work with teachers, parents and students to organise PE sessions,” she says.
One of the ways, she says, is through a pedometer like function that the app offers, where the distance a child walks in a certain period can be sent to the school, which can then be used for grading.
According to recent statistics, around 5%-8% of school children in India are obese. The predictions from the World Obesity Federation’s Atlas of Childhood Obesity, are bleaker – by 2030, India, China and the US are expected to have the highest number of obese children globally in absolute terms.