In a groundbreaking initiative aimed at fostering inclusivity and promoting physical activity among students, the Ministry of Education has partnered with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to distribute 11 lakh footballs across India’s school system. This ambitious endeavor, known as the Footballs for Schools (F4S) programme, is set to benefit over 1.5 lakh schools, significantly broadening access to football within the educational setting.
Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan kickstarted the distribution process by handing out 6,848 footballs to 1,260 schools across 17 districts of Odisha, marking a significant milestone in the implementation of the F4S programme. The initiative, which was launched in December, aims to reach schools not only in Odisha but also in other states such as Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu.
A key aspect of the programme is its commitment to gender inclusivity, with the goal of seamlessly integrating football-related activities into the education system for all students. By collaborating with various stakeholders, including physical education teachers and football associations, the Ministry seeks to create a conducive environment for the development of football skills and values.
To further enhance capacity building, the Ministry recently conducted a master training programme for around 300 physical education teachers and trainees from different states and union territories. These participants will serve as Master Trainers at the state level, facilitating further capacity building initiatives and ensuring the sustainability of the programme’s impact.
The overarching goal of F4S is not only to promote physical activity but also to contribute to the holistic development and empowerment of children. Through football training, the programme aims to instill values such as teamwork, discipline, and fitness, laying the foundation for a lasting sports culture in schools. By fostering partnerships and promoting enthusiasm for the sport, F4S aspires to leave a lasting legacy that transcends individual schools and communities.
As the F4S programme takes root across India, it symbolizes a commitment to harnessing the power of sports to nurture well-rounded individuals and build a healthier, more active society. By providing access to football and imparting valuable life skills, the Ministry of Education is paving the way for a brighter future for millions of children nationwide.