129 govt schools in Ludhiana have no playgrounds
Consider this. Government Primary School, Number 5, on College Road, with a strength of 155 students, runs on 300 square yards of land and has five classrooms, a staff room and corridor but does not have a playground. In its absence, students of classes 1 to 5 have to play in the small area around the corridor.
This is in violation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which recommends a play area at every school for the overall development of a child.
The schoolteachers said physical activity is vital for the holistic development of children and so every school must have a playground. “But there is no designated place in our school for students to play. Further, there is no physical instructor to guide them,” they said.
A teacher, who did not wish to be named, said, “Children aged three to 10 years are studying in our school and for their overall development, physical activity is essential. It broadens a child’s horizon.”
Such is the state of 129 government schools in the district. As per the data uploaded on the ePunjab web portal developed by the state education department, there are no playgrounds in these schools. The portal also shows data of other 269 schools in Ludhiana which have playgrounds but outside school premises. Thus, students in these schools have to cross the road leading to the school to reach the playground, putting their safety at risk.
There are 1,527 primary, middle, high and senior secondary government schools in the district. Of these, 993 are primary schools and 67 of them have no playgrounds. Of the 191 middle schools, 23 don’t have the facility; of 161 high schools and 182 senior secondary schools, 25 and 14 schools respectively have no playgrounds.
As per the epunjab webportal, Khanna 1 block has the maximum schools with no playgrounds. Of the 14 schools, 10 are primary, and two each are middle and high schools. These schools include Government High School (GHS), Jarg (girls); GHS, Almoh Road, Khanna; Government Middle School (GMS), Khanna Khurd; GMS, Billianwali Chhapri; Government Primary School, Jarg (girls); GPS, BRD Khanna Number 6; GPS, Khanna, Number 1; GPS, Khanna, Number 6; GPS, Khanna, Number VIII; GPS, Khanna, Khurd; GPS, Ishanpur; GPS, IKolaha; GPS, Nariangarh; and GPS, Jargari.
Despite a strength of 440 students at GHS, Almoh Road, Khanna, there is no playground at the school that was established in 1994. Students, in the absence of the facility, have to play in the school lawn. A Class 6 student of the school, Anil Bagga, said, “Due to no designated place, we have to play in the school corridor. I am very fond of playing cricket and basketball. But I can’t participate in these activities as there is no playground in our school.”
A principal who retired from Government Model Senior Secondary School, Cemetery Road, Anoop Passi, said, “Sports helps improve students’ academic performance in schools and develops their life skills. So, playgrounds are required in every school.”
Moreover, children lead happier lives and improve their fitness by indulging in sports, he added.
Another school, Government Senior Secondary School, Indirapuri, which was upgraded from high to senior secondary school in 2016, is set up in 285 square feet, and has no playground. Here authorities even face problems in conducting classes due to space constraints. Principal Jaswinder Singh said, “We are running the school in two buildings and there is no playground in either of them. Students either practice sports at a ground near the school or go to Guru Nanak Stadium.”
Director of public instructions (elementary), Inderjit Singh, said, “It is difficult to comment regarding schools that exist without playgrounds. But the new schools have all facilities such as playgrounds, classrooms, and separate toilets for girls and boys.”