Availability of playgrounds for kids hindered by ‘practical’ problems
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The direction by the Centre on the use of school playgrounds by local children during non-school hours has not had much effect so far, in the absence of concrete steps by the Education Department to implement it. It is still at the discretion of individual schools to implement it - an approach that may not yield much, say principals.
To boost sports activities amongst children who are deprived of playing facilities, it is permissible for local children within a 3 km radius to use school playgrounds during non-school hours. However, the decision is rendered ineffective by the unavailability of supervision, coaching and sports equipment.
"Principals can allow children to play in school playgrounds, with specific rules and conditions,as per their discretion. The equipment cannot be provided by the school as it is bought by the fund collected from the school students and is for their own use," says deputy director (school education) Chanchal Singh.
Principals, however, stress that unless it is binding by the education department, it is impossible to ensure full implementation of any such direction. There is no formal direction to schools about this, confirms an education department official, and the principals are not authorised to designate duty to teachers after school hours.
"There are practical problems in letting the children play unsupervised. Upon request of the local children, we had once earlier allowed them to play in our playground but soon there were complaints of them misbehaving with children and thrashing the school guard, following which we had to ask them to discontinue," says Government Model Senior Secondary School principal Sukhneer Sekhon.
However, education department officials deny vandalism by the children. "In fact, if we stop the children from entering the premises, then they may get rebellious and break window panes. They should be allowed to play with set rules and conditions," says the deputy director.
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