Kerala High Court Directs Government to Set Standards for School Playgrounds

The Kerala High Court has ordered the state government to establish guidelines defining the necessary size and facilities for playgrounds in schools, emphasizing the importance of extracurricular activities in education. Justice P V Kunhikrishnan mandated that these guidelines be implemented within four months and enforced strictly across all educational institutions in Kerala.

The decision comes in response to a discrepancy between national educational standards and local regulations. While bodies like the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) have explicit requirements for school playgrounds, the Kerala Education Act and Rules lack specific measurements and facilities criteria. The court highlighted that many schools in the state, some established decades ago, do not have adequate playground facilities due to this regulatory gap and subsequent construction expansions.

Justice Kunhikrishnan pointed out that several schools and aided school managements were exploiting this oversight. He emphasized the holistic role of playgrounds in education, noting that they are crucial not just for physical development but also for enhancing students’ social, emotional, and cognitive skills. “Education should not be confined to classrooms; sports and games must be part of the educational curriculum,” he stated.

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The ruling was part of a case involving a local Parent Teachers Association, which had objected to the construction of a water tank within a school compound in Pathanamthitta. Although plans for the water tank were eventually abandoned, the case brought attention to the broader issue of ensuring adequate recreational spaces in schools to foster a well-rounded education.

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