Aiming to significantly broaden the accessibility of football within the school setting for students, the Ministry of Education has embarked on a transformative initiative in partnership with the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). This initiative involves the distribution of 11 lakh footballs across the country in a phased manner, benefitting more than 1.5 lakh schools.
Inaugural Distribution by Union Education Minister
- Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan recently kickstarted this initiative by distributing 6,848 footballs to 1,260 schools across 17 districts of Odisha under the Footballs for Schools (F4S) programme.
- The distribution ceremony, held on February 9, marks a significant milestone in the journey towards integrating football-related activities into the education system.
Expanding Reach Across States
- The distribution of footballs was not limited to Odisha; it extended to several other states including Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu.
- This multi-state approach underscores the comprehensive nature of the initiative, ensuring its impact is felt across diverse geographical regions.
- Central to the programme’s ethos is its commitment to inclusivity. Regardless of gender, the initiative aims to seamlessly integrate football-related activities into the education system in collaboration with various stakeholders.
- This ensures that both male and female students have equal opportunities to participate and benefit from the programme.
Capacity Building through Master Training Programme
- To enhance capacity building, the Ministry conducted a master training programme at three venues – Sambalpur, Pune, and Bengaluru.
- Approximately 300 physical education teachers and trainees from various educational institutions participated in these sessions.
- These participants are slated to become Master Trainers at the state level, further facilitating capacity building efforts across India.
Global Impact Through Football Training
- The F4S programme is not confined to the boundaries of India; it aspires to make a global impact.
- With a vision to contribute to the education, development, and empowerment of around 700 million children worldwide through football training, the initiative transcends national borders.
Instilling Values Beyond the Field
- Beyond imparting football skills, the programme seeks to instill essential values in students. By fostering partnerships at different levels, it aims to cultivate enthusiasm for the sport and lay the foundation for a lasting sports culture.
- Moreover, the programme emphasizes values such as teamwork, discipline, and fitness, contributing to the holistic development of students.