The last 10 years have seen a boom in sports universities offering not just BPEd and MPEd but also coaching, management, and BSc courses.

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Sports are no longer considered “extracurricular” activities. In the last ten years, there have been about six new sports universities founded, and several more are in the works.

Ananya Gogoi, an Assamese native from the Biswanath area, always had a passion for athletics but was pressured to switch to science following her Class 10 board exams. She claimed that many individuals were unaware of sports as a subject or stream until the past three to four years. Sports were viewed as “extracurricular,” an activity that took place outside of the classroom and provided little employment opportunities for those who weren’t professional athletes.

Gogoi was under pressure from his parents, relatives, and friends to start studying for the engineering entrance exams or apply for admission to a nursing programme. “I was fighting with myself to go against what I wanted to accomplish. I wanted to study something I would find enjoyable and with little mental strain, she stated. For the younger twin, it was a proud moment when she persuaded her parents to let her enrol in a 4-year integrated Bachelor of Physical Education programme at the Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education (LNIPE) in Guwahati in 2016.

The Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, has a regional office in the northeast called LNIPE Guwahati. In August 1957, the Lakshmi Bai College of Physical Education (LCPE) was founded. In 2009, LNIPE Gwalior was promoted to its current standing as a Deemed-to-be university. One of the first colleges and universities to focus solely on physical education was this one. More has emerged in the 2000s, including ones in Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Manipur, and Assam.

Gogoi enrolled in Swarnim Gujarat Sports University in November 2020 to pursue a Masters in Physical Education (MPEd). She ultimately wants to become a teacher after earning a PhD in sports physiology.

More students in sports

In institutions across the nation connected to traditional, interdisciplinary universities, sports was offered as a structured undergraduate programme. The lack of awareness of these, however, prevented educational institutions and school-level sports institutes from inspiring pupils to view athletics as a profession for people other than athletes themselves. The roles of coaches, managers and sports scientists were not well understood.

However, there has been a progressive shift. There are enough applicants for all levels of programmes, and more students are expressing interest in them. According to P Kumaravellu, an assistant professor in the physical education department at Tamil Nadu Physical Education and Sports University in Chennai, the school received 300 applications for its undergraduate physical education programmes, where there are 100 seats, and 250 for its postgraduate programme, where there are 40 seats.

“Each year, the number of applications for the undergraduate degree increases by between 30 and 40. Nearly everyone wants to pursue a postgraduate degree, but the physical education department only has 40 spots, according to Kumaravellu. At Swarnim Gujarat Sports University, the experience is largely the same (SGSU). The department of physical education’s assistant professor Kunal Desai remarked, “We are getting a good reaction. The institution, which has 14 linked colleges, has about 2,000 students enrolled in a variety of programmes.

Sports university India

Four state institutions with a sole focus on athletics and physical education have emerged in the previous ten years. The establishment of new sports universities varies in Delhi, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Haryana. The Tamil Nadu Physical Education and Sports University (TNPESU), the first sports university in India, was founded in 2005 and is the first state to have a public sports university. The Sri Aniruddhadeva Sports University in Chhabua, Assam, and the Maharaja Bhupinder Singh Sports University in Patiala, Punjab, respectively, came in second and third place, respectively, after the SGSU in Gujarat. There are undergraduate, graduate, and doctorate programmes available at all public universities.

The central universities that are operational are the Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education and the National Sports University in Imphal, Manipur, both founded in 2018. The Major Dhyan Chand Sports University in Uttar Pradesh, the Delhi Sports University, and the Haryana Sports University in Sonipat have not yet begun operations. This year is most likely the year that the International Sports University in Pune, Maharashtra, inducts its inaugural class.

BPEd, MPEd and beyond

The main physical education programmes offered by the SGSU are three-year integrated BPEd-MPEd. The National Council for Teachers Education has given its approval for this (NCTE). According to Sudhir Kumar Sharma, controller of examinations at SGSU Gandhinagar, “The student will get a master’s degree in physical education and the whole length is only three years.” According to Sharma, a student who completes the three-year integrated curriculum will also be an expert in adventure sports administration and sports management because these disciplines are taught as well. Instead of just educating students for teaching, our courses also prepare them to be managers, administrators, coordinators, etc. The program’s overall intake capacity is 55.

This year, the Bachelor of Sports Management (BSM) and Bachelor of Sports Science undergraduate programmes at the International Sports University in Maharashtra (ISUM) will begin classes (BSc). In Balewadi, close to Pune, the university has been established at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex. Om Prakash Bakoria, the sports commissioner for the Maharashtra Department of Youth, Sports, and Services, stated that each programme would have a 60-person admission capacity.

Following the development of a revised curriculum and discussion with the University Grants Commission (UGC), ISUM was given the approval to launch four programs—two at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The first batch’s bachelor’s degree completion will precede the start of the master’s degree programme. “UGC has approved the use of new nomenclature after a protracted discussion. Consequently, in the future, we can also begin a bachelor’s degree programme in sports science and nutrition, biomechanics, or kinesiology. The same goes for the bachelor of sports management, sports media management, and sports legal management programmes, according to Bakoria.

Bakoria claimed that the standards, curriculum, and all other activities are being developed in accordance with international norms to explain the “international” term in the university’s name. Additionally, the university has begun working with the top 15 sports universities worldwide. “Our main goal is to work with Loughborough University UK as soon as possible.” Delhi Sports University, which has not yet begun operations, and the University of East London have already entered into a contract. The two universities will collaborate to create new sports-related courses and professions.

Jobs in sports

Students emerging from physical education programmes are recruited as physical education teachers in schools and colleges.

Other students are recruited as coaches in institutions, sports managers, coordinators and administrators. “We have nearly all the students placed always,” said Desai.

Mayank Tewari

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