Several steps have been taken by the Government to impart health and physical education to students across the country, said Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha on Thursday (December 5).

According to Pokhriyal, as per the National Curriculum Framework 2005, health and physical education is a compulsory subject from class I to X. In this regard, National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has brought out material for Class VI, VII and VIII as teachers guide and for class IX textbooks on health and physical education (HPE).

"In addition, Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) has introduced a streamlined and well designed Health and Physical Education (HPE) program to mainstream health and physical education in schools for students of class I - XII. CBSE has made Health and Physical Education compulsory in all classes from I-XII," the minister told the Rajya Sabha.

The board has directed schools to keep one period of HPE for classes I-XII each day. All students from these classes are compulsorily required to participate in at least two sports activities as per their interest and capability and this has been included in the eligibility criteria to appear in board examinations of classes X and XII, the HRD minister said.

He further said that the Department of School Education and Literacy in coordination with the Department of Sports is organising activities on ‘‘Fit India Movement-Fit India School” in schools to inculcate physical activity and sports into the daily life of students.

Department of School Education and Literacy has launched an Integrated Scheme for School Education-Samagra Shiksha, with effect from 1st April 2018. Realizing the need for the holistic development of children, under the Samagra Shiksha, Sports and Physical Education component has been introduced for the first time for the encouragement of Sports, Physical activities, Yoga, Co-curricular activities etc. in all States and UTs including NCT of Delhi.

Further, the majority of schools including government schools in NCT of Delhi are affiliated to CBSE and the HPE programme is compulsory for all CBSE affiliated schools.

University Grants Commission (UGC) has also prepared guidelines for an institutional fitness plan. These guidelines encourage higher education institutions to adopt policies and practices towards the fitness and well being of students and staff. The indicative guidelines inter-alia suggest denoting a minimum one hour per day on fitness activities, the minister added.