No money for sports, it's no fun studying in govt schools

No money for sports, it's no fun studying in govt schools

Leave alone expensive sports equipment, some places can’t even provide kids with a ball

Inculcating a sporting culture starts at the school level and even municipal officials and functionaries agree to the need to do so. But the 1,500-odd municipal and aided primary schools across Delhi make do with minimum infrastructure for the purpose. In some cases, the physical training teachers and basic sports equipment, even a ball, are missing.

The schools lack playgrounds and in almost all institutions, the children use the assembly area for their games.

The problem is more acute in schools in the rural areas and in unplanned colonies like New Usmanpur, Seelampur, Nathupura, Begumpur, Nangloi, Uttam Nagar, Kalyanpuri and Badarpur.

Congress councillor and Leader of Opposition in North Municipal Corporation of Delhi Mukesh Goel says: “The official machinery is not devoted towards developing serious sports culture.”

“We have been raising the issue time and again. The BJP-ruled civic agency is not keen to upgrade the facilities and hire the necessary staff,” he says.
The Congress leader says in the name of sports equipment, only swings are provided in schools.
A school principal from a ward in south Delhi says they don’t have the freedom to promote sports activities and there is no separate budget head for doing so as the main focus is on midday meals, free uniform and books.
“We get a budget of about Rs 10,000 for spending on maintenance of schools. There is no separate discretionary fund which we can use for sports facilities,” says the principal, who did not wish to be name.
“There have been occasions when residents of a colony near the school did not let our kids play in public parks in their area saying they were getting disturbed,” he says.
Jitender Kochar, former Leader of Opposition in the undivided Municipal Corporation of Delhi, says: “There are no grassy playgrounds. In some unplanned colonies, even the assembly area for the children to gather and play is limited.”
“Sports infrastructure in municipal primary schools is minimal. One can understand that class 1 or 2 students may not need a big area to play but what about the class 5 children. Why can’t there be minimum facilities for their physical development,” he says.
Chairman of the Standing Committee in North Corporation Mohan Bhardwaj says: “Improvement of school infrastructure is a constant process. After the country’s good show at the Commonwealth Games, we want to inspire and encourage kids to take up sports.”

Yogender Singh Mann, spokesperson for the civic agency, says: “Almost 90 per cent of the civic schools in planned colonies have proper buildings and playing space within the compound.”

“The shortage of space is more prominent in schools that were built in unauthorised colonies after locating vacant plots,” he says.

To make up for the lack of sports facilities at some of the institutions, the civic agency organises annual sports events involving schools in a select number of wards. “This serves as an encouragement for schoolchildren to take up sports,” says Mann.

For poor parents, sports facilities at civic primary schools come low on priority. “Every year, we get free uniform and books after much delay. Seeking additional facilities like bigger and better playing area would be a luxury for our kids,” says Shobha Singh, a maid whose son studies in a municipal school in south Delhi’s Chirag Dilli.