PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is all set to start implementing the province first sports policy and a notification to declare Saturday as sports day in schools would be issued in the coming weeks.
The previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led provincial government had approved the policy draft of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sports Policy to promote sports and develop it as an industry.
Chairman Performance Management and Reforms Unit, Office of the Chief Secretary, Adil Saeed Safi said that the government had decided in principle to declare Saturday as sports in all the primary and middle government and private schools.
"There will be no classes in schools on Saturday. The students would only play on this day," he said while speaking at a day-long workshop held at the Peshawar Sports Complex.
District and assistant district sports officer (DSOs/ADSO), district education officers, officials of Elementary and Secondary Education, director sports officers of 16 public and private universities, office-bearers and representatives of various sports associations from across the province attended the workshop.
Prominent among the participants present on the occasion included former world squash champion Qamar Zaman, President KP Hockey Association and former provincial minister Syed Zahir Ali Shah and Amjad Khan of KP Olympic Association.
Adil Safi said that two periods on every day of the week would be marked for sports activities in High and Higher Secondary Schools as well.
He said waning standard of sports, unregulated role of associations, uneven distribution of sports infrastructure and to train and encourage the children at the early age to choose a sports discipline of their choice to find raw talent were the driving force behind framing such a policy.
Adil Safi, who is also a former secretary sports, said that the policy was aimed at promoting sports and organising enhanced sports activities at the grassroots level. He cited the summer school holidays and change of the government as the primary reasons for delay in implementation of the policy.
The official said that the policy document was not the final and further changes and modifications can be introduced in the policy to make it more affective to achieve the desired results. He said the management of those schools lacked proper playgrounds had been empowered to acquire private land on lease for students to practice and play games.
The official said the Parent-Teacher Councils (PTCs) were empowered to identify and take on lease land for establishing a playground near the respective schools.
He said the money from the PTCs funds can be used for arranging sports activities and purchasing sports gears for a school. Apart from this, Adil Safi said that the physical training teachers at the High and Higher Secondary Schools would be notified as sports officers and would be held responsible for not implementing the policy or arranging sports gears for students in their concerned schools.
He said that under the policy male, female and even special children would be provided proper opportunities to take active part in sports activities. The EDOs and ADEOs complained about lack of resources for the purpose and shared their apprehension about the implementation of the policy in letter and spirit.
"The PTCs funds are meant for carrying out repairing work in schools and are not enough to arrange for holding sports activities or equipment in schools," an Education Department official deplored. Another female education officer pointed out to the purchase of low quality sports gears. "The sports gears are of substandard and break and did not last for a long period," she complained.