Part-time Dubai student is Kerala's youngest cricket double-centurion


Part-time Dubai student is Keralas youngest cricket double-centurion

Dubai - "I travel a lot throughout the year and I miss two to three months of school at a stretch."

By Sarwat Nasir

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Published: Sun 17 Feb 2019, 9:05 PM

Last updated: Sun 17 Feb 2019, 11:36 PM

The new part-time schooling scheme in Dubai is becoming a popular choice among students as they choose a career over the classroom. One pupil has become the youngest under-19 double-centurion in Kerala, with his Dubai-based school allowing him to take months off at a time to train for his career in cricket.
Varun Nayanar is a 16-year-old student at GEMS Modern Academy and he is one of the many students who will soon become part of the Rahhal project. 
Launched by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), the initiative offers students the option of part-time, home-based and virtual schooling.
"I travel a lot throughout the year and I miss two to three months of school at a stretch. When I come back, my teachers help me in catching up," Nayanar told Khaleej Times.
"I've been interested in playing cricket since I was six years old and I knew I wanted to play professionally when I turned 11."
Nayanar achieved his U-19 double centurion status in December during the Cooch Behar Trophy match against Saurashtra.
His success in his chosen field follows heavy practice sessions that he has to complete - all while keeping up with homework. He said his school asks him to focus on his matches while he is away, however, he takes his homework with him to keep up with studies.
"When I come back, my teachers sit with me until 4pm and help me study. Then, I proceed with daily training sessions. I take my books with me and I try to study as much as I can. It can be difficult to study while I'm travelling, so I do more when I come back," he said. "My school has been really supportive and it's motivating me to do better."
Nayanar is waiting to get approval from the KHDA to be enrolled into the Rahhal project.
How Rahhal is helping other champs
It's not just Nayanar's sports dreams that are coming true. Several other students in Dubai, who are part of the Rahhal project, miss a number of school months consecutively while they compete in international tournaments.
A student at the Indian High School, Tanisha Crasto, is India's number one badminton player in under-17 doubles. School, however, is not a worry for Crasto as the Rahhal project allows her to catch up on her studies.
Another Rahhal student, Tanish George Mathew, has been developing his swimming career. He's hoping to compete in Japan 2020 Olympics and the Commonwealth Games in 2022 - and win the gold medal in swimming at 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Students interested in pursuing professions other than sports have also become part of Rahhal. One Emirati family is homeschooling their four children in hopes of broadening their learning opportunities.
At the Indian High School, nearly 1,500 students in the senior grades are now allowed to attend classes only 3.5 days a week and spend the remaining time developing their talents.
The KHDA has also issued a licence to the UAE's first virtual school, which is now accepting students.

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