Should sports be compulsory for school children?
There is no doubt that outdoor games, such as football, hockey,
cricket, basketball, netball, etc are very good for growing pupils. They
provide physical exercise so necessary for health in an interesting
form. Moreover such games by training students to work together in a
team teach corporate discipline and so promote what is called esprit de
All this will be agreed to by everyone. But the question is whether
the playing of such games should be compulsory in schools. Some argue
that it should be voluntary. They say that most children will join in
the school games from choice.
As for those who do not like games, why should be made to play
against their wish? Playing games under compulsion will do pupils no
good and it may do harm to delicate students. Besides games often
interfere with serious study. As a rule the children who shine on the
playing fields do not shine in the classroom. A studious student would
rather give his time to getting on with his work.
What can be said on the opposite side in favour of making games
compulsory? For one thing it is often the delicate children who most
need healthy open air exercise. \Many a lad or a lass of poor general
health would be all the better for more physical exercise. Such students
as cannot stand strenuous games could be given gentle exercise or
excused on medical advice.
As to naturally studious pupils they certainly need all the outdoor
exercise they can get. Continuous indoor study will soon undermine the
health and so interfere with further study.
As such pupils will not voluntarily take part in games they must for
their own sake be compelled to do so.
Further no game can be played without strict obedience to its own
rules. Students understand this kind of discipline and uphold it.
This voluntary discipline learnt on the playing fields makes the
compulsory discipline of the school appear more reasonable to
schoolchildren. In this way compulsory school games strengthen school
Finally games form a part and a valuable part of school education.
They help in the moral training of children. They teach certain
necessary moral lessons and in a way. Pupils can understand for the
playing of them promotes cooperation the sense of fair play the sporting
spirit obedience to rules, self-control, pluck and the sacrifice or self
for the good of the whole. For these reasons my opinion is school games
should be compulsory.