Though a lot of effort is being made by the government to improve sports in the State, attention to physical education teaching (PET) is missing at the school level. Repeated requests by various associations to increase the number of physical education teaching posts in government schools have fallen on deaf ears. Teachers say that the non availability of staff for training seriously compromises the sporting potential of students in the State, since most of the young talent goes unattended. According to Tamil Nadu Physical Education Teachers and Physical Directors Association, 3,068 high schools in the State have only 86 second grade physical directors and 2,595 higher secondary schools have more than 300 grade one physical directors. In Coimbatore more than 12 schools are functioning without even one teacher.
“A school should have at least one physical educator for students. But officials have not paid heed to our repeated requests. We need a policy level decision to appoint more teachers in physical education,” said Devi Selvan, general secretary, Tamil Nadu Physical Education Teachers and Physical Directors Association. “The present teachers are getting tired since they have to manage so many classes. We are seriously compromising the potential of sporting talent in the State,” he said.
Since the introduction of the higher secondary classes in 1978 the government has so far made no appointments of PE directors in higher secondary classes in the State. The PE directors of high schools are promoted to higher secondary when needed but no post has been created, said teachers. In 1998,79 posts were upgraded and in 2011, 39 postings were made. More than 10,000 students complete BPed, MPed or other related courses every year but they don’t find job opportunities, said teachers.
Xavier, PE teacher of a government school at Purasaivakkam, said that no sport related posts were available at many government middle schools. Support meets conducted at various levels are turning out to be a farce, he said. “A few days before the tournament begins the teachers will somehow convince some students to
participate in the competitions. Even if there is talent it is ruined by such acts where expert training is lacking,” he said.
As per the present system, students till Class 8 are handled by physical education teachers, Grade Two PE directors deal with Classes 9 and 10. For Plus Two level Grade One PE directors should provide training. Students are supposed to have at least two classes on physical education every week.