The mushroom growth of schools, nay all sorts of educational institutions, without playground in cities and towns across the country is a go of the day. It is as though we have forgotten the age-old adage: All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
We usually observe that children nowadays are under constant pressure of parents and teachers for securing extraordinary grades in examinations as if that is all to be achieved in student life. In the life of their children, the parents and guardians shut their eyes to the necessity of play or amusement.
Most of the children especially in the cities do not have any playground in their schools. The entrepreneurs, who establish schools forget the fact that if the mind is formed in classroom the 'body beautiful' is built in the playground. So a school should have at least a spacious playground like well-furnished classrooms.
Through games and sports on the playground students learn discipline and comradeship and at the same time they acquire habits of cooperation. There is a well-known proverb that a 'healthy mind can only exist in a healthy body'.
But when we boast of development all around, millions of children in the country are being deprived of delights of childhood frolic, even in the 21st century. For development of the latent faculties of children, the facilities in the capital city are all but hopeless.
As per government rules, each primary school and kindergarten in the capital city must have playground for tiny tots. But the situation is completely reverse. Many of the schools without having any playground for the children are housed just inside a building. As those do not have any playground, many of the schools in the capital do not offer any class or course on physical exercise or games. As a result after school hours instead of going out for playing the children remain cooped up in the cabin in their houses.
Moreover, land sharks are grabbing open spaces in the cities wherever they find it. City parks are vanishing rapidly and being replaced by market.
Most of the children nowadays remain glued to television or play games on computers, tablet computers, smart phones or on other electronic devices due to lack of playgrounds and security out of house. They have no alternative but to remain satisfied with that.
Around 47 per cent of the children in the capital, a recent study shows, spend more than three hours watching television each day. Even toddlers always fantasise about the world they see in the cartoons on television. And they try to mimic language and behaviour of the characters they watch on television series or cartoons. This results in imbalanced growth of the children today.
Under the circumstances, playgrounds are essential for balanced growth of mind and body of children across the country.
It is natural that a student's mental and physical growth will be stunted without physical exercise. Being deprived of socialisation such children may attain academic feat. But their social skills will not be properly developed and flourished. The children spending much time indoors, of late, are found to suffer mental sickness or depression. Children are the future assets of the nation. We cannot see or allow them to suffer any more. Therefore, the authorities concerned should take initiative to ensure playgrounds in all schools at the earliest.
Sarwar Md. Saifullah Khaled is a retired Professor of Economics and Vice Principal Cumilla Women's Government College, Cumilla.
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