Sports and physical activities are integral to education, the Madras High Court recently said while directing the Tamil Nadu government to ensure all schools have adequate infrastructure for physical education [Dr. PR Subaschadran v. State of Tamil Nadu]..The order was passed by a bench of Chief Justice MN Bhandari and Justice N Mala after noting that about 25 percent of total schools in Chennai district did not have playgrounds. ."At this juncture, it needs to be emphasised that sports and physical activities are integral to education and therefore, infrastructure for sports is indispensable.Physical activity enhances the physical and mental strength of the student, apart from developing comradeship, instilling discipline, and imbibing leadership qualities," the Court said in its order passed on August 30. It, therefore, directed the State government to constitute a committee to ensure all schools had access to playgrounds, and adequate infrastructure for physical education.The Court was hearing a writ petition filed by one Dr. PR Subaschandran seeking adequate infrastructure for physical education in all schools.Last week, State government pleader P Muthukumar had submitted a status report saying that of the 1,434 schools in Chennai district, 367 did not have playgrounds. He had, however, said that the Tamil Nadu government has made physical education in all schools compulsory, and specific periods for physical education have been allotted in all schools. Such schools that did not have playgrounds, rented public or municipal grounds after obtaining requisite permissions, he had said.On Tuesday, the High Court directed the State government to constitute a Committee to "monitor and ensure" that physical education is given "due importance" and that requisite infrastructure in all schools made available.As per the High Court order, the Committee shall be headed by the Government secretary of the School Education Department. Such committee shall be constituted within a month from the order, the order added.."The Committee shall identify such schools that do not have requisite infrastructure for physical education, and ensure that physical education is provided by all schools in Tamil Nadu," the bench underlined.The Court also said that the State should take the petitioner's help in conducting such exercise.The High Court also noted that the Tamil Nadu State Rules for both private and public schools provided for mandatory access to physical education facilities. It said that the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 also emphasised upon significance of physical activities in schools."The essence of physical education is the overall development of the personality and spirit of a student. If such is the essence of sports, how can playgrounds be dispensed with in schools?" the Court asked while disposing of the petition.