Aiming to significantly broaden the accessibility of football within the school setting for students, the Ministry of Education has tied up with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to distribute 11 lakh footballs across the country in a phased manner. The exercise is slated to benefit more than 1.5 lakh schools. Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan doled out 6,848 footballs to be distributed to 1,260 schools in 17 districts of Odisha under the Footballs for Schools (F4S) programme on February 9.
The distribution of balls was launched by Mr. Pradhan in December in JNV Cuttack, Odisha. Besides the districts of Angul, Dhenkanal and Deogarh in Odisha, the footballs were also distributed in Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu in a phased manner.
“Regardless of gender, the programme aims to seamlessly integrate football-related activities into the education system in collaboration with various stakeholders,” a spokesperson from the Ministry said.
As a part of the programme, to enhance capacity building, the Ministry recently conducted a master training programme at three venues – Sambalpur, Pune and Bengaluru – where around 300 physical education teachers and trainees from States and Union Territories, Kendriya Vidyalayas, Navodaya Vidyalayas and AIFFs across India. These participants would then act as Master Trainers at the State level for further capacity building in the field, the spokesperson said.
F4S aims to contribute to the education, development, and empowerment of around 700 million children across the world through football training.
“By fostering partnerships at different levels, the programme wishes to instil a sense of enthusiasm for the sport, laying the foundation for a lasting sports culture that goes beyond individual schools. It will not only introduce the joy of playing football to students but also infuse values of teamwork, discipline, and fitness, contributing to their holistic development,” the spokesperson added.