Kerala Govt to Issue Guidelines Prescribing Extent of School Playground

Stating that the education curriculum should include sports and games as well, the Kerala High Court recently directed the State Government to issue norms or guidelines on the extent of playgrounds required to be maintained by schools.[1]

The present writ petition was filed concerning the construction of a water tank in the respondent school’s playground. It was alleged that the same was being carried out without obtaining approval from the concerned authorities. However, the construction proposal was withdrawn after the petition was filed.

Although the prayers in the petition became infructuous owing to such withdrawal, the Court proceeded to highlight the importance of having playgrounds in schools. Reference was made to Chapter IV, Rule 3(2) of the Kerala Education Rules, 1959, which requires schools to have suitable playgrounds for games and sports. The Court noted that the extent of the playground required to be maintained by schools was not provided in the said Rule or the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. In light of this gap, it was considered necessary to expressly provide for the extent of the playground and the facilities to be made available therein, vide an order or a regulation.

With this, the Court directed the State Government to come up with norms or guidelines in accordance with Chapter IV Rule 3(2) of the Kerala Education Rules regarding the extent of playground necessary in each category of schools and also the facilities required in the school playground.

As per the judgment, the same has to be done within four months. After this exercise is carried out, the educational authorities are expected to ensure due compliance with the norms or guidelines so formulated and take stringent action, including ordering school closure, in case of non-compliance by any school.

[1] Prakash N and Anr. v. GWLP (Government Welfare Lower Primary) School and Ors. [WP(C) No.19170 of 2014]