VIJAYAWADA: B Krishnakanth, a class V student of Chaitanya Techno School at Machavaram, dreams of playing football with his friends. Since the school has no playground or open space adjacent to it, he confines himself to playing video games or watching football matches on TV.
The plight of thousands of students is similar to that of Krishnakanth, for nearly half of the schools in the State have no open spaces. As per the 2015-16 report of the District Information System of Education (DISE), only 54.7 per cent schools in the state have playground facility. Most of the private schools and even the newly-sanctioned government schools have no open spaces for its students to indulge in recreational activities, in clear violation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
“When there are no classes or during a free period, we spend time by playing indoor games rather than sports, for there is no open space anywhere to play,” Krishnakanth laments.
When contacted, a senior official from the Commissionerate of School Education admitted that lack of playgrounds has been a worrying issue. The education department or the State government has to look into this and strive hard for improving the situation. “While giving permission for the establishment of schools, the authorities should go for clear check, but they are not paying much attention then. For the newly-granted schools, we are making sure that they have all the necessary facilities. We are also figuring out the possibilities of arranging playgrounds for the schools established prior to 2014,” said K Sandhya Rani, Commissioner of School Education, AP.
According to the RTE Act, every school should have a playground to provide for holistic development of children. But, in the present scenario, nearly 28,000 schools are far from the facility of playground. The negligence of the education department is clearly visible, for more than half of the government schools lack open spaces. Over 11,000 of the private schools the State also fall under the category.
Kabaddi coach N Rama Raju said a majority of the children were spending their free time with smartphones and computers. Though they are interested in sports, lack of facilities is forcing them to approach video games, virtual games, he said.