A famous adage says that, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Proving it true, the latest data released by government reveals that it has failed miserably to provide the basic amenities like classrooms, playground and electricity, which are the fundamental rights under the Right to Education Act (RTE). As per the data, the student-classroom ratio percentage has declined in past ten years. Every two of five schools in India lack playground and power connection and Bihar tops the chart.
The latest pan-India survey known as the District Information System for Education (DISE) conducted by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) covered 1.5 million elementary schools in 680 districts across multiple states of India like Punjab, Bihar, Gujarat, and Maharashtra to study about the availability of basic educational rights of 19 crore children studying in these schools.
Fiinovation strongly believes that dreams materialize only under the strong foundation. Therefore, efforts should be invested towards the overall development of children by providing them a strong educational base comprising the basic amenities such as digital classes, playground for sports, electricity and robust infrastructure.
Referring the above data, although the availability of facilities like drinking water, sanitation and infrastructure has seen improvement in the past ten years, yet India’s ignorance towards the development of sports facilities poses serious threats on the physical and mental health of India’s future with over 40 per cent schools including both private and government being devoid of outdoor sports facilities. Fiinovation feels that on one hand we are promoting the culture of practicing Yoga across the world while on the other hand we aren’t paying required attention on the physical fitness of children. Physical fitness, sports and extra curricular activities are crucial for holistic development of children and cannot be ignored at any cost.
The survey finds that in Bihar only one-third of the schools are having playground and less than 8 per cent are having electricity making it the worst hit state in the country. West Bengal also follows the suit with only 40 per cent of the schools having the playground and 13 per cent comprising electricity.
Similarly, even though Gujarat has better classroom infrastructure and electricity suggesting as compared to their counterparts in most states but it still struggles to provide sports facilities to the students. Ironically, one in every four schools in Gujarat doesn’t have playground.
Maharashtra, comprising over one lakh elementary schools imparting education to 1.6 crore students has scored better than many states with over 87 per cent schools having playgrounds and 94 per cent having electricity.
But topping the survey, Punjab has stood out in the survey with high focus on sports and physical fitness of students. An impressive 97 per cent schools have playground facility wherein 99.9% had electricity.
The government is introducing new policies for developing the country as a knowledge-based economy, but currently allocates only 4% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on education. Even the amount allocated in the last budget, with just 4.9% year-on-year increase, is comparatively lower as a percentage of GDP if inflation is factored in. Hence, the government should focus upon increasing the education budget. The analysis reveals that even though schools have improved fast over the years still there is a long way to go before we build world-class educational institutes focusing on the physical and mental development of children.
However, Fiinovation believes that the new CSR rules introduced by the government have come up as rays of sunshine for the long-term development of sports in the country. The Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013 comprising a list of CSR activities also includes the sports category for imparting training to promote rural sports, nationally recognized sports, paralympic sports and olympic sports. Hence, to ensure that sports becomes the catalyst of change in the country, Fiinovation requests corporations to contribute their CSR funds for the development of sports in the country so that it has potential impact on the enhancement of sportsmanship in the country and create sustainable livelihood opportunities for the sports persons.
“While medal winning countries focus on early training, high technology, state-of-the-art equipment, sports medicine, we are not even allowing such a large number of kids to play. Lack of sports not only compromises on their growth and fitness, physically and mentally both, but they also lose out on other crucial life skills such as team building, leadership, managing their own anger and failures and communication skill,” said former hockey player Mir Ranjan Negi.
Media & Communications