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October 17, 2015

52pc girls, 21pc boys schools without playgrounds in Punjab

Lahore

October 17, 2015

LAHORE
Fifty-two percent government high and higher secondary schools for girls have no playgrounds at all while 21 percent of boys’ schools are deprived of this facility in Punjab.
Despite the fact, education and sports are the basic needs of students for their overall growth as individuals and as a nation one would seldom hear lack of playgrounds in missing facilities rhetoric.
The overall situation vis-à-vis availability of playgrounds for students in public schools across Punjab is not encouraging either as out of total 6,795 high and higher secondary public schools in the province some 4,393 schools (65 percent) have the facility of playgrounds for the students which mean in total 35 percent schools are without playgrounds in the province.
This has been revealed in data obtained by this correspondent from the School Education Department Punjab under the Right to Information (RTI) law.
The data analysis reveals that 79 percent of public boys schools (2,900 out of 3,682 schools) offer the playground facility to the male students while only 48 percent schools (1,493 out of 3,113 schools) for girls have playgrounds. One also wonders if foreign donors who come from developed countries have ever realisation of this important aspect and suggested policy intervention at different levels accordingly. Had this been the case the situation especially vis-à-vis availability of playgrounds for female students would not have been that poor.
It is pertinent to mention here that the data is silent about public primary schools in Punjab. Since most of the primary schools comprise only one to two classrooms the general perception is that most of these schools don’t offer playground facilities to the students at all. Similarly, no official data is available about playgrounds facility in private schools. However, keeping in view mushroom growth of private schools over the years and their existence in small premises and rented buildings it’s not

difficult to assume that the situation vis-à-vis playground facilities in private schools is far poor than the public schools.
As the Punjab government is now establishing new schools only under public-private partnership through the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) one wonders as to how the government would ensure that such schools have playground facilities as most of these have been opened in rented buildings.
According to the district-wise break-up, district Sheikhupura has the lowest percentage (46%) of public schools having playgrounds, followed by the provincial metropolis Lahore (49%) and Gujrat (52%).
The district Hafizabad has the highest percentage (89%) of public schools with playground facility, followed by Khanewal and Chiniot 82% each. In district Khushab, the hometown of incumbent Secretary School Education Department Punjab Abdul Jabbar Shaheen, the playgrounds are available in 63 percent schools.
Similarly the percentage of playgrounds for students in public schools from South Punjab includes Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Rahimyar Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Layyah, Rajanpur, Multan, Khanewal, Sahiwal, Lodhran, Pakpattan and Vehari.
According to the district-wise break, 60 percent public high and higher secondary schools of Attock have playgrounds, Bahawalnagar (63%), Bahawalpur (77%), Bhakkar (75%), Chakwal (65%), Chiniot (82%), Dera Ghazi Khan (62%), Faisalabad (64%), Gujranwala (57%), Gujrat (52%), Hafizabad (89%), Jhelum (64%), Jhang (73%), Kasur (77%), Khanewal (82%), Khushab (63%), Lahore (49%), Layyah (62%), Lodhran (64%), Mandi Bahauddin (69%), Mianwali (77%), Multan (69%), Muzaffargarh (76%), Nankana Sahib (53%), Narowal (54%), Okara (65%), Pakpattan (67%), Rahimyar Khan (72%), Rajanpur (65%), Rawalpindi (55%), Sahiwal (75%), Sargodha (69%), Sheikhupura (46%), Sialkot (53%), Toba Tek Singh (72%) and Vehari (75%).
Talking about the lack of sports facilities for students in public schools, Secretary General Punjab Olympic Association Idris Haider Khawaja said over the years the government had ignored sports at school level despite the fact sports were equally important. “While education is necessary for mental growth, sports are important for physical growth”, he added.
Idris Haider Khawaja said the government spent huge funds on frivolous activities like Youth Festivals while school level sports were being ignored. He was also critical of sports ministry saying it was basically Olympic Association’s job to conduct sports activities in schools. “The ministry’s job is limited to policy making and allocation of funds etc”, he added.
The News could not reach Punjab Minister for Education and Sports Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan despite repeated attempts on his cell phone.