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NEW DELHI,KANCHAN SRIVASTAVA: According to latest government statistics, every two in five elementary schools in India don’t have playground and power connection, two of the 10 basic norms mandated under the Right to Education Act (RTE).
The initial findings of the latest pan-India survey (called as District Information System for Education or DISE) released this week highlights such a sorry state of affairs of world’s largest education system. The survey covered 1.5 million elementary schools in 680 districts across the states catering to 19 crore children.
With 40 per cent educational institutions, private and government both, having zero outdoor sports facilities, one can imagine the scale and magnitude of the sports talent India is losing every year. The revelations also cast aspersions over physical fitness of crores of children in the country which is aggressively campaigning for Yoga and Surya Namaskar across the world.
Bihar appears to be worst in the country, where only one-third schools in the state have playground and less than 8 per cent have electricity, say records. West Bengal also cuts a sorry figure with only 40 per cent schools offering playground and less than 13 per cent have electricity, finds the DISE survey conducted by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA).
Almost all the schools in Gujarat have electricity suggesting better classroom conditions for the kids and teachers compared to their counterparts in most states, but many of them are not able to play outdoors. One in every four schools in Gujarat don’t have playground.
Maharashtra which has over one lakh elementary schools catering to 1.6 crore pupils appears to be far better than many states. Over 87 per cent institutions in the state do have playground and 94 per cent have power too.
Punjab stands out in the survey, suggesting more focus on sports and physical well-being of the children apart from education.
The analysis of last few years’ data also suggests that schools have improved fast over the years, bridging gap of separate toilet facilities, drinking water and pupil-teacher ratio and ramp for specially-abled. However, acquiring playground, constructing boundary wall, power connection and computers has remained slow, owing to physical and financial constraints.
A recent study of Indian parliamentary panel has suggested that even for those children who participate in games, the sports are not their first career choice because of high risk, uncertainty and low rewards.
When it comes to spending on sportspersons, India is much below. The US spends a whopping Rs22 a day per person, the UK spends 50 paise and Jamaica 19 paise. India invests just 3 paise per person each day.
“Several schools in Mumbai including BMC schools don’t have playground. The kids are supposed to exercise inside the classroom. One can imagine the kind of physical fitness such students have,” said Ramesh Joshi, president of BMC school teachers Association.
“While medal winning countries focus on early training, high technology, state-of-the-art equipment, sports medicine, we are not even allowing such a large number of kids to play. Lack of sports not only compromises on their growth and fitness, physically and mentally both, but they also lose out on other crucial life skills such as team building, leadership, managing their own anger and failures and communication skill,” said a former hockey player.
Students-teachers ratio has improved a lot over last 10 years
Student classroom ratio percentage
Schools with drinking water
Schools with girls toilet
Schools with computers
Schools with boundary wall
(Source: DISE 2015-16 India flash statistics)