What career option do we have any sports? Is their any career progression post retirement for sportspersons? Are their adequate opportunities/vacancies for sports and sports related avenues? Allow us to take you through the skill gap study for sports (2012-2017, 2017-2022) in India by National Skill Development Corporation. It is estimated that the total demand for sports coaches (national to block level) would around 2 million by 2022 for 26 elite sports identified by NSDC. In addition to that, the demand for support personnel (trainers, psychologists, medicine experts, nutritionists) would be around 80,000 for each in 2022.
Considering the aspect that the demand of number of personnels run into millions, the situation is in need of immediate attention as there are only a few 100 institutions accredited or run by the government. Considering the present supply, we would still have a shortage of around 40,000 physical education teachers and shortage of over 30,000 elite and non-elite coaches annually (to reach the 2022 target).
Some case studies could give some insights into these aspects. In Australia, they have credential system where people take full time jobs, continuing to work as volunteers in sports sector and accumulate credits until they reach a certain level to get into a paid position in sports sector. United Kingdom on the other hand has a certificate mechanism for different levels (1-4) of target audience they aspire to coach.
For India, the challenge lies unique because of its social gap between urban and rural population. Though most of the facilities could be afforded by urban population, still a significant chunk of our talent comes from rural India. For example Manipur ranked 25th in terms of poverty from 28 states has highest number of medal per 1 million population in the national games. Hence, It would be a failure if these facilities and exposure gets constrained only to the tier 1/metro cites.
The Government of India’s initiative - Skill India Mission is commendable initiative skilling of huge segment of workforce by 2022. One of the studies from Azim Premji Foundation in Yadgir district of Karnataka points out that, even among the children who finish schooling nearly 20% of males and 25% of females in 15-24 age group are not literate. Skilling the work force is great initiative, but bringing in systemic change from school level and providing skills through schools and subsequently through skill centres creates a more sustainable pathway.
- To advocate and create a network of skill development centres on a PAN India scale, to aid in development skills for sports and sports related personnels.
- To provide sports training in schools coupled vocational training on sports skill sets to assure employability secondary education.
- To provide skill development for current coaches and physical education teachers, to upskill them towards modern coaching techniques and use of technology.
- To substantially increase investment commitments of corporates in sports skill development through their CSR funds.