By Arsalan Haider
Sports are said to be an important aspect to increase the character building and developing the personalities of children specially when they are facing hectic academic schedule. But despite charging heavy fees and other charges from parents, number of small and large private schools in Punjab lacks playgrounds, which affects students’ physical and mental fitness.
According to Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) survey, only 33.1 percent private primary schools in Punjab facilitate their students with playgrounds and remaining 67 percent private primary schools lacks this facility.
Private schools industry in Punjab has now grown in almost every city, district and even in small towns at a very fast rate especially in the last couple of decades. Due to low quality and standard of education in state sponsored schools of Punjab people now trusts on private sector schools. The reason is that people expected from private schools high quality education but many of them have lived up to the desired expectations.
The condition of public schools is somewhat better than private schools as their campuses are built on a vast piece of land unlike private schools operating in small buildings or even houses.
However on this situation the parents of the kids have expressed their concern over the lack of playgrounds and urged concerned officials to construct playgrounds in their respective schools for students.
Father of a child Adil told this scribe that most of the schools do not have the facility of playgrounds due to lack of space in their schools. He said that a large number of schools are operating in the residential areas in small houses, which are not able to facilitate students with playgrounds. The situation forced them to use green areas and residential streets as playgrounds, creating problems for the residents, he added.
A mother of class three child Samina said that schools without playgrounds should not allowed by the authorities to contniue their activities. She said that private schools despite charging heavy fees from parents have been failed to provide quality sports and extra cocurricular activities, but the matter of sad is that none of the government is unable to take action against these private schools. She said that the government is not the only party to share the blame, schools are also equally responsible.
A physical training instructor serving in a government school said that usually private schools do not arrange sports activities in their schools as most of the schools had no playgrounds or school heads were unaware of the importance of physical training and games for students. “Most of the students usually go to playgrounds of their respective schools to play different games with schoolfellows during break hours. But if there is no playground inside or adjacent to the schools, they usually go outside schools for playing in the streets,”. In rural areas, he said, such students played in open spaces in graveyards or fields near the schools, which was not a proper place for sports activities.
An official of the elementary and secondary education department said it is mandatory for school administrations to arrange cricket, hockey, football, basketball, volleyball and gymnastic competitions and physical training of students at the school level, but such activities are rarely taking place.He however unable to answer the question on taking action against those schools who had not playgrounds.