The Telegraph
Thursday , December 8 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
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CBSE eases school land rule

Less space for fun?

New Delhi, Dec. 7: The CBSE has reduced the land requirement in urban areas for giving affiliation, sparking fears among experts that it will lead to mushrooming of schools with little space for physical education.

HRD minister Kapil Sibal told the Lok Sabha today that the CBSE had relaxed the land norms by amending its affiliation and exam bylaws.

Schools in cities with a population of over 15 lakh will require one acre now instead of two acres. Under the old rules, schools that had an acre could get affiliation only in cities with more than 25 lakh people.

A CBSE official attributed the decision, taken at the last governing body meeting held three months ago, to the unavailability of big patches of land in urban areas. Several organisations and individuals seeking to open schools had claimed it was difficult to find large tracts and had sought relaxation in the norms.

But experts questioned the wisdom of the move. R.P. Malik, the chairman of the Federation of Public Schools in Delhi, feared schools without proper playgrounds would sprout in smaller cities such as Asansol, Meerut, Allahabad, Bhubaneswar and Visakhapatnam.

Many schools that have an acre have been given affiliation in Delhi but conducting classes on physical education has been a problem there, Malik said. “In such schools, it has been difficult to organise sports activities. They send their children to nearby parks, which are used for several purposes by people of various age groups.”

Jyoti Bose, principal of Springdales School in Delhi’s Dhaula Kuan, said the built-up area of schools were often spread over a major portion of an acre, leaving little space for playgrounds.

“One acre is nothing. A school up to Class XII will need a minimum of 24 classrooms, three science labs, a mathematics lab and a library. Can there be a playground in such a school?” she asked.

The CBSE official contended that such schools could tie up with bigger ones in the neighbourhood to use their playgrounds.

But Bose rejected the idea as unfeasible. “Making arrangements for playgrounds in some other schools is never easy. It does not happen because playgrounds often remain occupied.”