In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision on sanitation, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has decided to focus on creating an action plan for constructing toilets in all government schools to create an enabling environment for girls, with HRD minister Smriti Irani asking states to do so by July next year.
At a day-long conference of state education secretaries, the ministry laid emphasis on the ‘Swachh Vidyalaya’ programme to ensure no government school remains without a toilet. For this, the ministry says it will arrange the necessary funds, particularly for areas with large backlogs. The meeting discussed strategies to tap Corporate Social Responsibility funds and encourage individual corporates and institutions to build toilets.
According to the ministry, 50 per cent of the schools without toilets are in the six states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal.
The ministry will also focus on the “convergence” between schools and higher education departments with respect to teacher training programmes. To improve the quality of teachers, the ministry said it would ask universties to revise their curriculum to be in sync with the National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education, 2009. According to the ministry, of the 247 such universities only 69 have revised their curriculum in the last five years.
The ministry also stressed on ensuring a better school environment for girls, enabling re-enrolment of girls who have dropped out and increasing the number of female teachers.
School Education Secretary R Bhattacharya said the ministry’s focus was also on providing upper primary and primary schools in neighbourhoods, given that there is a six per cent habitation in the country that does not have an upper primary school in the neighbourhood and two per cent habitation which does not have a primary school.
Inaugurating the conference, Irani sought the states’ cooperation in improving school education and the quality of schools. The minister also launched the “Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat” programme which focuses on early reading, writing and comprehension and early grade mathematics. Irani said the ‘Shala Darpan’ programme that the ministry is planning to launch soon, would allow for a greater participation of parents and the community.
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