Unhygienic toilets in Govt Schools

Why should this all happen only with Government schools and not also with private schools that toilets built there should not be properly maintained is, primarily because in private schools, there is an increasing element of accountability while in Government run schools, it is no one’s. The overall ambiance, the cleanliness of class rooms, corridors, stairs, facilities of drinking water and the most important basic requirement of neat and hygienically maintained toilets in Government schools receive very less attention from the management of those schools. Just collecting actual data from 15 states in the country by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) reveals that 75 percent of Governmentschools faltered in ensuring that there were cleanand hygienically maintained toilets. A report to thatextent was recently tabled in the Parliament.The areas where these toilets faced abject neglect was in most of the cases, insanitary conditions,in other instances not properly cleaned, while still in

other inst nces cleaned twice in a week only while some others were cleaned surprisingly once in a month only against an established norm of cleaning on daily basis. Keeping bucket, soap, cleaning agents, disinfectants and the like were found missing in 75 percent of the surveyed toilets. Not only about toilets as such, pathways too were found in most ofthe schools untidy and in feculent conditions. Sensing such a scenario to be an accepted fait accompli in Government run schools, the Ministry of Education in the year 2014 launched ‘Swatch Vidyala  a Abhiyan’ so that the objective of having separate toilets for boys and girls could be achieved for which it sought cooperation from other ministries for construction of toilets in Government schools by the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) under their administrative control. In other words, all the previous Governments thought the issue to be of no import even if that had lot many hassles related to hygienic and social aspects. However, there was good response from as many as 53 CPSEs to the call of the Ministry of Education resulting in the construction of 1,41,000 toilets. Most of the ministries extended good support to these CPSEs which include Power, Coal, Petroleum and Natural Gas. An amount of Rs. 2100 crore was pooled by these CPSEs which resulted in the construction of these toilets. It is a travesty that up-keep and maintenance of these toilets even could not be ensured by

these schools wherein most of these toilets were found even non-functional. In a separate survey made some time back, one of the chief reasons of dropouts among girl students has been due to absence of proper toilet facilities in schools. If smaller efforts at individual school levels about maintenance of cleanliness, functional and hygienic toilets, tidiness of classrooms etc are not taken and just at the strike of 4 pm in the watches and rushing home by the staff of such schools is considered as their right, then, it means a gloomy scenario which, however, needsto be adequately addressed. There are other startling instances found during surveys and ”audits”

like there being no water connection to constructed toilets, some were found damaged while

curiously others were even found locked while still others were not constructed at all although claimed to have been ”constructed”. We hardly need, under such findings of the CAG, to lay emphasis on the need of linking the levels of maintaining sanitary conditions of schools with the sanctioning of annual increments and other incentives to the staff of such schools where

blatant disregard to maintain hygiene and tidiness was found. It is precisely a scenario of virtual wastage of national assets built at a whooping amount of Rs.2100 crore which cannot be

accepted . Like this, discomfiture to the students

and even their susceptibilities to health problems must be a cause of great concern.

Hamlets without road