‘One athletics facility for 1,52,537 children’: Sports Researcher seeks LG’s intervention for improvement in sports infra in Delhi schools

The current Delhi government claims to give priorities to sports at the various levels in the national capital but a reality check being carried through RTI reveals a stark contrast. There is a massive difference in what exists on the ground and what is being claimed.

Dr Kanishka Pandey, PIL mover in Supreme Court for securing sports as fundamental right for children, has now written to Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, sharing his study and requesting him to intervene in this matter, to improve the sports facilities in the schools of Delhi.

According to him, schools should be like a nursery for sports and if infrastructure were not available then children’s interest in sports wanes with time.

Reacting to the RTI, Gopal Saini, an Olympian and Arjuna Awardee said, “Without sports infra at grass root level, we can never think of becoming sports super power and if RTI has revealed such a condition of sports infra in the capital town, then it is definitely a wake-up call. Government must look into it on priority”.

The data collected from various schools through RTI has revealed that there is a “total mismatch in claims of Delhi government and what exists on the ground”. The appalling condition has not been doing any good to either the children studying in these schools and nor it has been good from the country’s perspective especially when India is vying for top spot in global sports.

The sports researcher, Dr Pandey — who is also the founder of the NGO Sports: A way of Life — had sought information through RTI for the research purposes. He said that the data collected from these schools through RTI have revealed “a very grim picture of what sports infra exist on the ground in Delhi Schools. This was far below my expectations. And it is time that Hon’ble LG of Delhi needs to intervene in this matter.”

Sharing the details, he said Delhi Government schools of nine zones figured in this RTI survey. “Currently 6,10,146 students are enrolled in these schools. Out of these 309 schools only 207 of these schools have any kind of playground for children which stand at around 65 per cent only. Only 193 schools have some kind of sports ground available for playing. Here the size of the sports ground has not been accounted for.”

“Only 25 schools have badminton courts (indoor or outdoor). 16 schools have facilities for football. There are 41 Basketball Courts, 120 Volleyball Courts, 5 Swimming Pools in 309 Schools. Only 4 schools have facilities for basic athletics training. In all, there are 73 TT Tables. No school has a climbing wall or facility of any kind.

“What was even more eye-catching was, there are only 157 sports teachers to cater to more than 6 lakh children with a student-sports teacher ratio of 3887:1, which is nothing but ludicrous planning and a lip service to sports,” he added.

The RTI made a few more startling revelations.

“A further interpretation reveals that in schools run by Delhi Government, there is one Playground for 3000 children, one Badminton Court for 24000 children, one Football Facility for 38134 children, one athletics facility for 152537 children and one swimming pool for 122030 children. Here if we were to take into consideration sports in Olympics, then several or most sports facilities are amiss in Delhi Government Schools,” the RT report said.

Dr Pandey further said better student teacher ratio is considered to be a hallmark of a good education system, but the number of sports teachers were hardly given any consideration as these schools have one sports teacher to cater to 3887 students, which if technically interpreted then this is just an eye wash.

He has also given certain suggestions as to how things could actually improve.

“A pool of Government schools in close vicinity can be created, and they can come together and make best use of available infrastructure. Private schools should allow open access for all in the evening. Tie ups between schools and community parks under control of MCDs can be explored and it can be used for sports training for children,” he suggested.




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