Captain Ameya Kocheraker is a thought leader in the K12 segment of Sports Education. He has an overall experience of 22 years in corporate and armed forces jointly. He is the Co-founder and CEO of Proforce
Proforce proudly stands with three national medals in fencing for girls, three natural trophies in hockey for a school at different age groups,48 state and district trophies for various sports and 598 state and district medals.
Tell us about your startup Proforce and what was the idea behind setting it up?
Proforce takes a lot of pride in its tagline symbolising “Professionalism of Forces in Sports”. It is into holistic sports education with the K-12 segment of schools in India. Proforce works on enhancing the school sports performance in different sports. Why it started also has a story behind it. So when I look back at the past few generations, typically, all schools used to have only two or three PT periods in a week. Also, the kind of coaching at schools did not include many skills, and the sports infrastructure was also not sufficient. There were some gaps existing in the sports education ecosystem and K-12 segment when we started researching, wherein we came across three major gaps. They are:
• Even though the sports teachers in schools are qualified enough, the fact is that many of them have experience playing one or two sports but are expected to teach all kinds of games and sports. As per our research, less than 3% of the PE teachers have played a game or two at the national level but carry a B.PEd or M.PEd degree.
• None of our boards, be it CBSE, ICSE or the state boards, require that only national-level sports persons qualify as PE teachers.
• The student to teacher ratio in classrooms is well maintained. But on the ground, the student to PE teacher ratio is exceptionally large (for example, 1:100).
So when I saw the scenario of sports in schools, I was determined to create an environment wherein sports is inculcated as a part of the curriculum by trying to minimise the drawbacks.
After the big victory by Neeraj Chopra, do you think more Indian parents will push their children to take up sports as a career?
The unfortunate part is that the Olympics fever comes once every four years. People tend to forget about the victories and inspirations in the next two to three months. There is a certain kind of awareness among Indian parents. However, there is still a lot of scope wherein parents and society should start thinking of sports as a career and not just a skill or a hobby.
Like IITs and IIMs, do you think we should have more dedicated professional institutes which will focus on the science of sports and not just the art or skill?