At a time when Mumbai is boasting of global standards of education, more than half of the schools here don’t even have playgrounds, drinking water and usable urinals, reveals the eighth edition of the All-India Education Survey.
Nearly 2,084 schools of 3,674 don’t have playgrounds, 250 don’t have drinking water and 1,000 don’t have usable toilets. National Council of Educational Research and Training conducts this study periodically to look at the overall progress of the country in education.
The study looked at the physical and ancillary facilities across recognised schools from 2002 to 2009 and found that many were lacking infrastructure facilities such as playgrounds, drinking water and toilets. These are mandatory under the RTE Act (2009).
Of the 1,203 primary schools in Mumbai, only 567 have a playground, 1,192 have drinking water facilities and 1,167 have usable urinals. The situation is worse in upper primary schools — only 455 have a playground, 960 drinking water facilities and just 931 have usable urinals.
According to experts, due to space crunch in the city, schools can’t build playgrounds. Only old schools in South Mumbai or newer ones in the far-flung suburbs have enough space. But schools need to make alternative arrangements, such as adopting nearby civic playgrounds, as physical education and sports is a major part of the latest Youth and Sports policy.
Experts says state needs to take strict action against errant schools. Jayant Jain, president of the Forum for Fairness in Education, said, “It’s true that there’s space crunch in city. But government shouldn’t let schools get away with it. It shouldn’t issue an NoC to defaulting schools. Water, playgrounds and toilets are basic facilities.”
Sion resident Roshani Bhatt said her son’s school doesn’t have a playground. “The school has found another way of making money by tying up with a extremely elite sports club. We have to pay membership fees, along with fees for tennis, squash court and swimming pool. It would have been cheaper if the school had just adopted a nearby ground,” she said. firstname.lastname@example.org
The study looked at the physical and ancillary facilities across recognised schools from 2002 to 2009 and found that many were lacking infrastructure, such as playgrounds, drinking water facilities and toilets. These are mandatory under the RTE Act.