Gujarat Has Olympic Hosting Ambitions But Its Schools Lack Playgrounds

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Gujarat Has Olympic Hosting Ambitions But Its Schools Lack Playgrounds

| Updated: February 27, 2024 18:03

Playgrounds. The place where children learn their graving skills. Where they take their first steps to sporting glory. Where they give wings to their sporting dreams.

Now, a painful truth: 5,012 government primary schools in Gujarat do not have a playground.

The irony can’t be missed, for Gujarat is preparing for the 2036 Olympic bid and makes claims to prepare youth for international sports.

As per the state government data, 78 government secondary and higher secondary schools, 315 grant-in-aid and 255 private schools in the state are devoid of a playground. The state has approximately 12,700 secondary and higher secondary schools and nearly 33,000 government primary schools.

According to reports, another 37 grant-in-aid and 509 private primary schools didn’t have a playground within the campus.

Dahod heads the districts with the highest number of 541 primary schools. Of these, 518 government and 23 private schools lack playgrounds. Data claims that the district is followed by Banaskantha (444), Bharuch (364), Bhavnagar (361) and Tapi (334).

In the last three years, no playground was developed even in one private secondary and higher secondary school and just 16 government secondary and higher secondary schools were added with a playground within this period.

Not just that, there is scant movement on physical education teachers’ recruitment. Two hundred and thirty-one posts of physical education teachers remained vacant in grant-in-aid secondary and higher secondary schools in Gujarat as of March 31, 2023.

One hundred and seventy-four of the total posts were waiting to be filled in secondary grant-in-aid schools and 57 in the higher secondary schools against 602 and 549 successful recruitments, respectively.

Five years ago, the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) passed a Government Resolution (GR) saying that no approval for a new private secondary and higher secondary school in a rural or urban area will be given to trustees without playground facilities within the same campus.

In September 2019, the Education Department amended rules for setting up a new school, following a decline in the number of new schools approved in 2019-20.

The rules were relaxed to allow a rented space adjoining the school with a condition of a registered rent agreement for 15 years.

The minimum playground size was changed from 1,200 square metres to 800 square metres in the urban areas. It was reduced from 2000 square metres to 1500 square metres in rural areas.

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