BY ROQUE DIAS | NT
MARGAO: Most of the schools in the city don’t have proper playgrounds forcing the students to play on roadside open spaces or in nearby fields.
Sources informed The Navhind Times that several schools within the city limits do not have playgrounds for their students. And in absence of this the students don’t get opportunities to show their sporting talents.
Playground is a basic requirement for recognition and getting permissions to a school. However, this requirement has not been met by most schools in Margao.
"City schools are given relaxation. But the fact is the recognition to these schools was given much earlier. Nevertheless, the department is seriously thinking about it," the deputy education director, South Goa, Mr D R Bhagat said.
He, however, admitted that playground is mandatory and important for school students. He said this rule on playground is bent when school managements fall back upon Sport Authorities of Goa playground.
The Popular High School headmistress, Ms Pratibha Agranayak explained how their 81-year-old school building has been separated from the open space by a road. This open space was actually meant for schoolchildren to play.
"We block the road rightfully during the school time here. However, traffic cell cops pick up a quarrel with us and forcibly breaks the ‘blockade’," she said.
The paucity of land and rising number of students have pushed the school management to look for "good space for school and playground".
But then the Popular High School is not the only school in Salcete which does not have a proper playground and other facilities.
According to Mr Bhagat, there are in all 229 schools in Salcete taluka of which 63 are government primary schools and 85 aided primary schools. There are three government high schools, whereas the number of aided high schools is 62. There is one government higher secondary school and 15 aided HSSs.
Most schools have toilet facilities, except wherever there is dispute over land.
"Toilets could not be constructed at nine government primary schools as there is land dispute," informed an education department official, adding that 26 government primary schools in Salcete are single-teacher schools.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan provides facilities like toilets and drinking water to those schools which have students studying from first standard to eight standard. While for the schools/HSSs, which have students studying from ninth to 12th standard, same facilities are provided under the Rashtriya Mahamadhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan.
Besides, the PWD is implementing a central government scheme called Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan to take care of basic needs of students when they are in schools.
Sources, however, informed that the education department has to conduct inspections of these schools and detailed reports, including on facilities available at the schools, have to be submitted to the department and then some action has to be initiated.
"But these things seem to be not happening in Margao," the PTA chairman of a city school said.