Elementary, but only 54 pc schools have them

The State government has identified eight basic facilities elementary and high schools must have.

At the elementary school level, playgrounds rank the lowest, with only 54.42 per cent having them. The second worst facility is, ironically, the compound wall, which only 66.6 per cent schools have. The drastically low figures are, however, better than the previous years’. A face-saver of sorts for the State education department, playgrounds have seen a marginal 4.5 per cent increase in the last three years.

A former joint secretary of the Department of Education told Deccan Herald playgrounds were a luxury these days. “Land is constantly shrinking and it is difficult to balance providing education, urban development and playfields. In villages, the problem is not yet serious, but it will soon be...”

He adds, “Schools can use Palike public grounds in every ward. Educational institutions, private or government, situated in the vicinity of such grounds, can use the space in shifts, so each school gets equal access to it.”

However, the reality is that the Palike grounds are either turning into dump yards, or are simply unusable for sports. Less than 150 public grounds in the City are in an usable condition.

In the case of private unaided institutions, the fact that many follow the CBSE syllabus has ensured that a minimum area is allocated for playing. In order to earn an affiliation to the CBSE, schools must own at least one acre of land in metros and two acres in rural areas.

G Sharma, who runs the Sharada Vidyaniketan Public School, says, “The CBSE is strict on the matter that playgrounds are of adequate dimensions. They even ask for a sketch and blueprint of playgrounds before giving affiliation.”

But some schools following other syllabus function from even 400 sq ft spaces, says Sharma. “Prayers are held on terraces and roads. The Palike does not care at all about schools flouting rules,” he says. Sharma, also the head of Karnataka Parents’ Association, said a school in Mahalakshmi Layout regularly conducts prayers on an adjacent street.

The B Mona English High School, Neena English School and Raghavendra High School in Koramangala 5th Block use the nearby Palike grounds in shifts.

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