A suggestion by Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore to include sports and fitness in school curriculum rather than being considered an extracurricular activity could just be implemented by the Indian central government.

Sports and academics will hold equal footing in Indian schools if the Human Resource Development Ministry’s reported plan to introduce an integrated curriculum goes ahead.

According to a report in the Hindustan Times, the inclusive curriculum will have sports, yoga and vocational crafts – currently categorised as extracurricular activities – on par with academics “in an effort at ensuring a holistic approach to the development of students”.

Rathore, a former Olympian, had made the suggestion during a meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education, which advises the central and state governments on policy decisions, the report said.

“The segregation of curriculum into academics and sports, or extracurricular, leads to academics being given more importance over, for instance, sports,” the report quoted an anonymous HRD ministry official as saying. “Parents too, often encourage their children to focus on academics. We want to change that and ensure a holistic development of students.”

The HRD ministry, headed by Prakash Javadekar, had also discussed with other stakeholders – such as the Central Board of Secondary Education and the National Council of Educational Research and Training – the possibility of employing a system where academic marks will be awarded to students for proficiency in sports, the report said.

The report added that a draft of the National Education Policy, which has also proposed the same, is likely to be submitted to the HRD ministry by March 31.