Many children in India can't play during school hours due to lack of a playground. Photograph: (AFP)
Schools have been unable to acquire land for playgrounds due to financial restraints, a white paper stated
By Kanchan Srivastava
Two out of five elementary schools in India don't have a playground and power connections, according to the latest government data.
The initial findings of the latest pan-India survey, called District Information System for Education or DISE, covered 1.5 million elementary schools catering to 190 million children.
Elementary schools provide education to children aged between five and 12.
India's eastern state of Bihar appears to have fared the worst in the country. Only one in three schools have a playground and a dismal 8 per cent of schools have electricity, the report said.
West Bengal, also in east India, cuts a sorry figure too, with less than 13 per cent of schools having electricity in its classrooms.
India's western states of Gujarat, which is Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state, and Maharashtra have a better record.
Although a quarter of the schools in Gujarat don't have a playground, most of the schools have a power connection.
In Maharashtra, over 87 per cent of elementary schools have a playing area for children, while 97 per cent schools are electrified.
India's northern state of Punjab stands out in the survey. An overwhelming 97 per cent of schools in the state have playground facility and 99.9 per cent of them have electricity as well.
Acquiring playgrounds, constructing boundary walls, getting power connection and computers have remained slow due to physical and financial constraints, the report noted.
(This story was first published in DNA)