January 29, 2023

Outdoor sports shaping future of schoolchildren in Tungipara

Thousands of school students in Tungipara of Gopalganj did not have access to outdoor sports…

Thousands of school students in Tungipara of Gopalganj did not have access to outdoor sports for a long time as a number of institutions did not have any ground.

Local people said that their children used to get home as soon as their classes ended as there was no extracurricular activity for them. Many students said that they could not even play soft games with their friends on the school premises due to uneven nature of the existing grounds. 

As a result, thousands of school students were unable to go out and play football, cricket or even winter badminton. 

Dhaka Tribune

Lack of sports or physical activities were creating a huge setback in children’s physical and mental growth, and driving some into drugs and petty crimes. Dependency on digital media increased significantly.

Considering the necessity of open spaces and grounds for children, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina – during a recent visit to the area – asked local authorities to improve the conditions of existing playgrounds in educational institutions and build new ones where there are open spaces.

With a special allocation from the prime minister worth Tk3.11 crore, a total of 33 grounds in the upazila were improved and expanded in the fiscal year 2021-22.

Under the project, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief prepared grounds for 20 primary schools and expanded ground areas for another 13.

Dhaka Tribune

Ariful Islam, project execution officer in Tungipara, told Dhaka Tribune that the premier was touched after learning that almost 9,000 students were deprived of playgrounds. 

He said that the PM had immediately asked the authorities to take measures in this regard. The then Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO), AKM Hedayetul Islam, acted promptly on the instructions. The new UNO, Md Al Mamun, completed the unfinished work of the 33 grounds. 

Students told Dhaka Tribune that their lifestyle has changed ever since they were able to play on their school grounds. Now they are able to utilize their recess period in the school by engaging in sports and can also comeback in the afternoon to play football and cricket. 

Haridas Biswas, the headmaster of Rakhilbari Government Primary School, said the ground in the school compound used to go under water during the rainy season. The flooding disrupted academic activities as well. 

Dhaka Tribune

“But the field has been filled up with sand and the children are now able to play there,” he added. 

UNO Al Mamun hoped that the grounds – spread around five unions of the upazila – would play a pivotal role in the mental and physical growth of the school goers in the area. 

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Gopalganj (General) AKM Hedayetul Islam said that the government was working towards providing the students with a better environment at their institutions. This would help the youths become better citizens, he added.