Kerala High Court Orders Closure of Schools Without Playgrounds

The Kerala High Court has issued a significant directive, emphasizing the vital role of playgrounds in schools and ordering the closure of educational institutions lacking these essential spaces. Justice PV Kunhikrishnan stressed that playgrounds are integral to students’ holistic development, providing avenues for physical, mental, and emotional growth. He asserted that learning should extend beyond the confines of traditional classrooms, with playgrounds serving as the ultimate educational environment.

The court’s decision stemmed from a petition filed by the Pathanamthitta Thevayur Government L.P. School PTA, challenging the district panchayat’s plan to construct a rainwater harvesting tank on the school’s grounds. Justice Kunhikrishnan underscored the need for clarity regarding the minimum land area designated for school playgrounds under the Kerala Education Act (KER), noting that existing ambiguity had been exploited by certain educational institutions.

In response, the court directed authorities to formulate rules specifying the required land area for school playgrounds within four months. Schools failing to comply with these regulations, despite adequate notice, would face closure as per the court’s order. Additionally, the directive was forwarded to the Secretary of General Education for implementation.

Regarding the specific case brought forth by the petitioners, the panchayat opted to withdraw its plans for constructing the water tank on the school’s playground, thus addressing the immediate concern raised in the petition.

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