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Kerala HC directs state govt to issue guidelines on extent of playground in schools, gives 4-month deadline | Education

The Kerala High Court has directed the state government to issue guidelines about the extent of playground necessary in each category of schools and the facilities required, saying that education cannot be restricted to classrooms as it also includes extracurricular activities like sports and games.

The Kerala High Court has directed state government to issue guidelines about the extent of playground necessary in each category of schools. A four month deadline has also given by the court. (Representative image)(Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

The High Court further ordered that once the guidelines are issued, the authorities should ensure the same is followed by all the schools in the state, and stringent action, including closure of the institution, should be taken against the violators.

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Justice P V Kunhikrishnan said that the guidelines be issued within four months from the date of receipt of this order.

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The directions were issued by the court after noticing that while the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Affiliation Bye-laws 2018 and the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) Rules for Affiliation stipulate the facilities required in a school playground, the same were lacking in the Kerala Education Act and Rules.

The only condition in the Kerala Education Rules (KER) was that every school shall have a suitable playground for games and sports and the site should contain sufficient clear space for the purpose, the court noted in its April 11 order.

The court further observed that several schools in the state were established decades ago, and many did not have adequate playgrounds for games and sports for various reasons, including subsequent building constructions.

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“The school authorities and aided school management are taking advantage of this lacuna in Chapter IV of the KER which is silent about the measurement of the playground necessary in the schools. Therefore, it is imperative to issue an order or regulation about the extent of the playground necessary in all schools in the state and the facilities required in the school’s playground,” the court said.

Justice Kunhikrishnan said that school playgrounds are an essential part of a child’s learning environment as they provide a safe and fun place to play and help children develop their physical, social, emotional, and imaginative skills.

“Education should not be restricted in classrooms and extracurricular activities, including sports and games should also be a part of the education curriculum. It will increase the physical skills of the children like flexibility and balance motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and heart and lung function,” the court said.

“Social skills, cognitive skills, and emotional skills also will improve, if the children are allowed to engage in games and other activities in the school playground,” the court added.

It also said that a playground was a part and parcel of the school and without it, there cannot be a school. “The education of the children is not in the classroom alone; it should spread to the playground as well. Playgrounds are the ultimate classroom where children learn through play. The playground is where the children can themselves shine mentally and physically,” the court added.

The issue came up before the court in a plea by the Parent Teachers Association of a Government Welfare Lower Primary School in Pathanamthitta against the construction of a water tank or such other constructions by the district panchayat without the permission of the educational authorities within the school compound.

However, after the plea was filed, the court was informed that the proposal to construct the water tank was dropped and there was no grievance anymore.

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