School toilets come under strict watch

Swachh Bharat Campaign: Onus of ensuring clean, functional toilets on principals, centre heads

Written by Ardhra Nair | Pune | Published:November 6, 2014 12:02 pm
A show-cause notice will be issued if toilets are found to be dysfunctional or unclean A show-cause notice will be issued if toilets are found to be dysfunctional or unclean

In a move to strictly implement the Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, headmasters/ principals and centre heads of state-run schools will be held responsible for ensuring that functional toilets are available and clean in their schools. A show cause notice will be given to them if toilets are found to be dysfunctional, not under construction — in case there is no toilet— or are unclean, said the Directorate of Primary Education.

“The government is under pressure from the central government to start all school inspections with a toilet inspection. This is a great move to make sure every school will have a functional toilet,” said a senior official of the education department.

“The central government is keenly watching every move of the state and weekly reports are sent by each state to MHRD about progress of toilet construction. Although the project was to be completed by October 31, 2014 the state delayed it and claims it will be completed by December 31,” added the official.

Mahavir Mane, Director, Primary Education, said, “Yes it is true we will be holding the headmaster or principal and the centre head responsible if toilets are found to be in a bad condition. During inspections, the inspector will first see toilets for both girls and boys.
Although the central government is taking weekly reports on progress of the scheme, the decision to give show cause notice is a state decision,” added Mane.

“Currently there are about 2,000 toilets in the state which are dysfunctional due to various reasons and about 1,000 are to be made anew,” said Mane. Talking about reasons for a large amount of dysfunctional toilets, the senior official said, “The reasons include non-availability of water to non-construction of toilet seats. In many cases, money to build toilets was given to Zilla Parishads in 2005-06. But they were never utilised due to laxity on the part of both gram panchayat and the school. And later, after implementation of the Right to Education Act, in 2009, toilets became a parameter for schools to be adjudged. By that time construction costs had gone up and money given by ZP years ago was not enough. Hence toilets were never built or were built, but never put to use.”

“But as per the central government diktat, there should be four urinals and a toilet for every 100 boys and three urinals and two toilets, one Indian and one western style, each for every 100 girl students. Now almost no ZP school has a commode. So almost all schools will have to build a commode and that is a huge task, said the official from the education department.

As per consolidated data before the campaign started, Maharashtra had 1,221 schools that did not have toilets for boys, besides 1,088 other schools where the facility was dysfunctional for boy students.

Similarly, there were 1,226 government schools that did not have toilet facility for girl students and nearly 2,190 other toilets were dysfunctional. The state has 67,307 government schools.

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