THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: For the first time ever, the state government conducted a special sports meet exclusively for schools affiliated to national boards, like the CBSE and ICSE, recently. Organised by the Kerala State Sports Council, the Kerala State Central Schools Sports Meet provided many budding athletes with a bigger platform, say the stakeholders. But the proposal floated by many, that the winners of the various competitions organised during the sports event be given weightage in admission to higher educational institutions in the state, may have to clear a lot of hurdles. At present, CBSE schools run by private managements as well as Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas have separate sports meets at the state and national level. Same goes for ICSE schools.
But the Kerala CBSE School Management Association wants the Kerala State Central Schools Sports Meet to be the qualifying event at the state level for all national boards. It is not clear if the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan and Navodya Vidyalaya Samiti agree. ICSE school managements, on their part, have made it clear they don’t. “It is true the event gave yet another platform for our students to compete with students of other boards at the state level. But the Council for ICSE Schools has already made some commitments to the School Games Federation of India (SGFI). Therefore, we cannot undermine the relevance of the ongoing ICSE sports meets,” says Fr George Mathew Karoor, secretary and treasurer of the Association of Schools for the Indian School Certificate (Kerala region).
When it comes to admission to higher secondary and undergraduate courses, students of national boards are at a clear disadvantage. While their counterparts in the state syllabus would earn up to five per cent extra marks for winning laurels in state-level sports meets and would also be entitled to the sports quota, CBSE does not award any extra marks to students for it. “After conducting a state-level meet for national board students, the next logical step would be to provide some sort of incentive for its participants. It is only natural. But such a proposal will need wide discussions with the Education Department as it entails providing weightage to national board students in admission to higher secondary and undergraduate courses,” says an officer of the Department of Sports and Youth Affairs.
One state – two teams?
There is still no clarity on how participants of the Kerala State Central Schools Sports Meet would move to the national event organised by SGFI. While winners of the Kerala State School Athletics Meet will represent the state at the national event by default, it is not clear whether SGFI will recognise the winners of the Kerala State Central Schools Sports Meet. Doing so will mean there are two teams from the state, says an officer.
“The only way forward is to organise a common athletics meet for students of all schools in the state. However, such a proposal is highly contentious. It may face opposition from central boards as it goes against their established national pattern. It may also invite the ire of teachers in the state who would accuse the state government of promoting private schools,” says the officer.