Physical Literacy gathering fantastic momentum in Andhra Pradesh, India.
A small but very passionate and well-connected working group in Andhra Pradesh, India, contacted the International Physical Literacy Association (IPLA) after discovering the concept of physical literacy. The working group is headed up by Gopichand Pullela, an Indian sporting hero who was inspired to find out about physical literacy after he passed a shuttle cock to a child who was not able catch it. Gopichand then shifted his thinking from a sporting excellence focus to a mass participation focus, and found that the concept of physical literacy and particularly the philosophy that underpins physical literacy could be the solution to not only increasing physical activity levels for all, but could also be a vehicle for social change.
Since his initial discovery of physical literacy Gopichand and his working group has trailblazed a path direct to local Andhra Pradesh, government where the chief minister has given his support. Their first project brought together circa 800 physical education teachers from Andhra Pradesh to receive physical education training as well as an introduction to physical literacy.
The 800 teachers were given a range of workshops facilitated by Sport for Life Society, a Canadian Organisation that delivered sessions on lesson planning, teaching games for understanding, assessment as well as some content knowledge for physical education lessons.
Gathering this many physical education teachers in one place to undergo training is a first in its kind for India and its success has now attracted interest from central government with talks to potentially roll out this project across the whole of India. With what has been achieved already and what potentially is yet to come, this working group is in a position to impact millions of children and hundreds of thousands of teachers, not to mention the wider impact on families, society and the Indian population of 1.2billion.
How has this momentum come to be? Primarily, it has arisen due to the connection between a need and longing for improvement in physical education provision as part of a larger picture to also improve general health and wellbeing for the whole population and the discovery of physical literacy as the means to achieve this.
What is next? Currently an action plan and organisation structure is being designed by this working party including external advisors including the International Physical Literacy Association (IPLA) and Sport for Life Society to provide a roadmap for how physical literacy can continue to be developed within physical education and how physical literacy can also be a source of inspiration for wider social change enabling all to become active for life.