THE PUNJAB education department has asked teachers and other staff in government schools across the state that the practice of having separate toilets for them is to be discontinued, and that they will use the same toilet facilites as students.
Director General School Education Pradeep Aggarwal said the move was aimed at ensuring cleanliness of the toilets. “Now since teachers and students will use the same toilets, the teachers will ensure that the toilets remain clean,” Aggarwal said.
“This is a good idea. Teachers will share the toilets with students and in the process they would take measures if the toilets need to be cleaned,” said Amritsar District Education Officer (Secondary Education) Satinderbir Singh.
In a letter to principals of all government schools in the state, copies of which have also been marked to block education officers and district education officers across the state, the office of state project director of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan Authority, Punjab, earlier this week directed that there will be no separate toilets for the staff in the schools.
“All the toilets in the school should be divided between boys and girls depending on the ratio of the students. The boys and gents staff would use (one set of) toilets jointly and the girls and lady staff would use (other set) of toilets jointly, meaning thereby that there will be no separate toilet for the staff,” reads the letter.
A total of 1,335 new toilets were constructed in schools across the state a few months ago under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
The letter also underlined that at many places, primary schools and middle schools or high schools and senior secondary schools run in single campus, but students from the adjoining school were not being allowed to use the facility. “It is made clear here that schools running in one campus would use all the toilets jointly,” said the letter.
Pointing out that in many schools, Disabled Friendly Toilets (DFTs) had been constructed but the facilities were not being allowed to use by other children in the absence of children with special needs, the letter states that DFTs should be kept open for use by other students.