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| Last Updated:: 02/09/2014

Govt. school toilets

Cleanliness a casualty of funds crunch in govt school toilets

Deccan Herald by Ramzauva Chhakchhuak, Bangalore, 2nd September 2014




A good number of schools in State have lavatories, but maintenance needs attention:The latest statistics compiled by the Ministry of Human Resource Development on the presence of toilets in government schools across the country show Karnataka among the few states with toilets in almost all schools.


Experts are, however, of the opinion that a lot needs to be done in terms of maintenance and functionality of the toilets. According to the District Institute System of Education (DISE) figures for 2013-14, of 46,421 government schools in Karnataka, only 12 are without girls’ toilets, and 24 are without boys’ toilets.


In addition to this, 30 schools have dysfunctional girls’ toilets and another 68 have dysfunctional boys’ toilets. Even though states such as Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have almost the same number of government schools as Karnataka, the number of such schools without toilets is far more when compared with Karnataka.


In Andhra Pradesh, for example, of 45,714 government schools, 9,114 schools do not have girls’ toilets, while another 19,275 schools lack boys’ toilets. As many as 8,329 schools have dysfunctional girls‘ toilets and another 5,374 schools have boys’ toilets.      


While Chandigarh, Daman and Diu and Delhi do not have any government schools without toilets, a point to note is that the total number of government schools in these states is very less. The total number of government schools in these city states are 88; 2,826 and 961, respectively. Among the states with the largest number of government schools without toilets are Bihar and West Bengal. In Bihar, there are a total of 70,673 schools, out of which there are no girls’ toilets in 17,982 schools and no boys’ toilets in 19,275 schools.


‘Clear improvement’


Anand Swaminathan, Head, Field Institutions, Azim Premji Foundation, pointed out that while there has definitely been a clear improvement in terms of availability of toilets in schools in the last decade, still a lot needs to be done in terms of their maintenance.


“Building toilets is one thing, maintaining them is another. Maintenance is usually taken care of by the school administration and local management. However, the funds they receive for the purpose are mostly inadequate. Many schools may even have to source money from the local community for the purpose. Both factors - budget and responsibility of the management - need to be considered, while talking about toilets in government schools.”


G Nagasimha Rao, Director, Child Rights Trust, is of the opinion that the question is more about the usability of toilets rather than their numbers. “We are carrying out a study in six districts. We found that while there are toilets in a number of schools, these are not clean and disabled-friendly. There is a universal standard for building toilets with availability of water, ventilation and other parameters. The department needs to monitor the usability of toilets and make sure they are regulary cleaned. Clean and well-maintained toilets are the right of all schoolchildren.”