Children in government schools are not able to play sports due to poor quality of sports equipment and inadequate funds.
Bengaluru government schools struggle with funding for sports equipment and activities.
Shamantha S., Head Mistress of Government High School, SR Nagar, said, “we do not receive any government funds in terms of sports equipment, and they are also in poor condition.”
According to the Union Government’s., state wise fund allocation for sports for 2021-22, Karnataka stands fourth in the amount of fund allotted. Rs128.52 crore was allocated to the state.
Ramesh S.N., Deputy Director for physical education said that every year Department of School Education and Literacy gives Rs. One Lakh to government high schools and Rs. 50,000 to government higher primary schools for purchase of sporting equipment.
A fee of Rs. 25 is collected from students per annum as sports fee, said Ramesh and from that amount budget is prepared for sports events. Shamantha also said that Rs. 25 is collected from students, excluding girls and SC/ST students. “We have 76 students this year and only 21 are in general category which amounts to Rs. 1,596. It becomes difficult for the school to manage sports equipment from this meagre fee as 60 percent goes in buying new ones and 40 percent for repairing old ones,” added Shamantha.
Mohan, a class eighth student from Government High School, SR Nagar, said, “I love playing football, but my school does not have good quality footballs and after only one month of playing with new footballs, they tear.”
Students of Government High School, SR Nagar, also said that shuttle cocks are replaced twice every two months and bats and footballs are rarely replaced.
Government of Karnataka sets aside Rs. 2.45 crore for organizing various level sports meet, said Ramesh. Amongst these sports, 24 disciplines are taken care of, a few of them are volleyball, kabaddi, throw ball, badminton, football and hockey.Ramesh added, “Not only do we organize but also give suggestions to schools in regard to what student needs in terms of sports facilities.”
Prasanna Kumar and Choudappa M.K., two students from Government Higher Primary School, Sindhi Nagarthpete, said, “there is no playground in our school and we also don’t have good sports items as the school does not replace old ones nor do they bring new equipment.”
A parent waiting outside Government Higher Primary School, Sindhi Nagarthpete, showed his concern over sports facilities in the school. He wants his daughter to play badminton because she likes it. He also said thatmany parents have told the authorities to take the matter seriously, but no action has been taken.
To understand any sport, one-on-one coaching is required, which is impossible in government schools, stated Aashir George, researcher and venue operations manager, India on Track, a sports management company. “For playing football, one ball is enough for 20 students, but for coaching every student needs individual football, and then only the goal is achieved,” said Aashir.
Lack of proper understanding of sports equipment and proper allocation of funds remain major problems in government schools. Aashir said, “If a person is sitting in office without proper knowledge of sports equipment, how will they teach on the ground, it’s like giving two footballs to a bunch of students and that’s it.” Aashir also added that corruption is a major factor for mismanagement of funds.