Sport a casualty in semester system

Sport a casualty in semester system

For all its academic fanfare, the prevailing semester system for graduation and post-graduation courses is proving to be a death knell for university-level sport in the state. Internal assessment, constant examinations and the absence of a half-yearly supplementary exam is making “dull Jacks” out of all young sporting talents in colleges across Karnataka.

Bangalore University Physical Education Department director Dr R Munireddy reveals a staggering statistic. “The drop in participation in selection trials alone is around 60 per cent. Add to this students pulling out of competitions on account of examinations and internal assessments and the total drop in participation could be around 70 per cent,” he says.

Even cricket and hockey are falling prey to the system. The number of students who participated for cricket selection trials for 2009-10 was a paltry 78, compared to an average of 300 students when the annual scheme was the order of the day.

BU Physical Education Department assistant director Dr T R Lingaraju said: “Earlier, the selection itself would be divided into different zones and the process lasted at least four days. Now, it is one single zone and the selection is done in a day.”
Participation in other sports disciplines like basketball, softball, kabaddi, and kho-kho, too, has dropped by more than 50 per cent. Munireddy says that autonomy to sporting powerhouses like Jain College, Christ College, St Joseph’s, National College and Mount Carmel College has not helped. “These colleges conduct examinations according to their own schedules and have high attendance demands. So there is very little representation from them,” he says. He adds that the rapid cycle of examinations, valuation and internal assessment in the universities is choking team sport in particular because of time constraints.

Munireddy’s counterpart at Mysore University, Dr C Krishna, concurs. According to him, selected players often refuse to take part in tournaments. “For example, eight out of our 16 players from the women’s basketball team pulled out of a recent tournament due to semester examinations,” he says.

Matters are made worse by the absence of a half-yearly supplementary examination in most varsities, including Bangalore University. The university stipulates that students can appear for supplementary examinations only during odd semesters (3rd, 5th, 7th).

Munireddy says: “We have opposed the system and brought it up at academic council meetings but the academics always prevail.” In fact, teachers at Delhi University have vehemently opposed the move to start a semester system precisely on grounds of “neglect of sport.”

 Dr Nagalingappa, the Physical Education Department Director at Mangalore University, believes that the recent decision at the Inter Universities Board to have a common time-table for examinations across all universities is a step in the right direction.

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