Striking students, errant teachers, mediocre infrastructure. It is the lethal combination of these three that has been hindering the effective functioning of GV Raja Sports School, that had once immensely contributed to sports in the state.
Shifted from a relatively well-equipped campus to the rather makeshift one at Mylam almost six years ago, it was least expected that with change in location the fame of the institution, which has around 375 students under its wings, would also nosedive.
But the state of affairs has deteriorated so much that even the State Sports Council, which is also in the firing line over the inept handling of its own centres, has sought expert opinion on taking over the school, provided the Education Department, which owns the school, complies. But that move is unlikely to bear fruit owing to legal complications.
The abysmal tale of GV Raja School also came up in the Assembly on Monday, with the House being told that the school does not have a single prize-winning student of national or international status. Sports Minister K B Ganesh Kumar said in a written reply that the school at Mylam was accorded only those facilities given to other government schools in the state. Outstanding performances by students of government schools in Parali and Mundur in Palakkad district, who train with just one sports teacher, have also come to the notice of the government, Ganesh Kumar said in reply to a question by A K Saseendran.
“The school has not been recently able to deliver as per our expectations. Scientific coaching, discipline, nutritious food, excellent infrastructure and talented students are the prerequisites for becoming a top-class sports institution which, unfortunately, is not the case of G V Raja School. It was against this backdrop that we expressed our wish to take over the school as well as Kannur Sports Division, both having failed to rise to expectations,” said Kerala Sports Council president Padmini Thomas.
Incidentally, Padmini herself came up through a summer camp organised by GV Raja when it started functioning at Shangumugham.
G V Raja School PTA president Sebastian Edward flayed the school authorities, saying the lack of discipline among the trainers and trainees has affected the normal functioning of the school. “Some of the teachers are misleading their wards to carry out their mischievous acts. These result in strikes and conflicts between the coaches and trainees. The infrastructure is also in a sorry state. There is not even a single good track for practising,” he said. He added that if more work is done, then the school’s students who have won three golds in the recent state school athletics meet can improve their performance in future.
Agreeing that students are caught on the wrong side when it comes to discipline, school principal Sunil Alphonse told Express that it is the lack of quality students and less number of trainers that hurt the school’s prospects. ‘’Now it is difficult to get good talents as some schools are racing to recruit them in the sub-junior level itself. So, we get only secondary talent. Also, we have only a single athletic coach to train more than 60 trainees. It is high time the government recruited more specialised coaches,” he said.