Stats of India

Over 23% schools in India have no playground: Report

November 8, 2022
Reshma Ravishanker

Over 3.4 lakh schools out of the total 14.8 lakh schools in the country do not have a playground for students studying there, according to a recent report.

Of these states, Meghalaya, Bihar, and Jammu and Kashmir have reported the least numbers, as per the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE+), a database of school students.

The UDISE+ report for 2021-22 showed a marginal difference in the percentage of schools having a playground. In 220-21, it was 75.76% as against 76.96% one year later.

At the least, less than half the number of the 14,600 schools (43.7%) in Meghalaya have a designated playground. Similarly, a mere 49.8 % schools out of the 93,165 schools have playgrounds in Bihar.

However, among the better performing states and union territories are Diu and Daman (99.8%), Punjab (97.5%), Lakshadweep (97.4%), Delhi (96.5%) and Andaman and Nicobar Islands (96.2%).

India’s populous Uttar Pradesh which has 2.58 lakh schools, the highest in the country, as many as 34 % schools do not have an area for students’ physical activity.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE) which deems playgrounds an essential infrastructural necessity in a school mandate that all schools provide the same to students.

However, the National Education Policy 2020, drew flak from some education experts who believed that the need for having playgrounds has been disregarded in NEP 2020 in the name of efficiency.

“The overemphasis on inputs, and the mechanistic nature of their specifications – physical and infrastructural – will be changed and requirements made more responsive to realities on the ground, e.g., regarding land areas and room sizes, practicalities of playgrounds in urban areas, etc. These mandates will be adjusted and loosened, leaving suitable flexibility for each school to make its own decisions based on local needs and constraints, while ensuring safety, security, and a pleasant and productive learning space,” NEP draft reads. 

Also read: Benefits of children playing sports & games

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