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Martial arts training in schools reduced to a farce 

Gurdaspur: The initiative of the Punjab Education Department to impart martial arts training to girls studying in Classes IX and X of more than 3,000 high and senior secondary schools has virtually been reduced to an exercise in futility with not many trainers available to teach the nuances of karate.The scheme launched under the RMSA aims at training girl students in the art of defending themselves in an unfortunate circumstance of being attacked by someone.Karate as a sport is neither recognised by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) nor does the National Institute of Sports (NIS) hold any diploma in sports coaching like it does for all other IOA-recognised sports.Funds to the tune of lakhs are given by the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan to the Education Department.“According to the norms, a coach is paid Rs 6,000 per month, while Rs 3,000 is set aside for refreshments. The qualification for a person to get hired is that he should be a black belt that denotes a high competence in the martial art. Black-belt coaches are almost non-existent following which school principals often resort to appointing their own loyalists to train the girls. There is no proper monitoring of the scheme,” said Amarjeet Shastri, union leader of the Democratic Teachers Front.In some cases, a “coach” imparts training for just 15-20 minutes in a school instead of the mandatory one hour.“Some ‘coaches’ visit five or six schools daily thereby pocketing Rs 30,000 for doing absolutely nothing. The girls are the sufferers as they end up learning nothing,” said a principal.Things are given a quiet burial after principals prepare a sham report of the proceedings and submit it to the DEO concerned who, in turn, forwards the same to the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

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