Thousands of girl students face problems daily as many schools do not even have basic amenities.
Corporation schools in Madurai are in a crisis, not because of marks and results but due to lack of basic amenities. Getting to use a toilet is not easy for students here as there are very few toilets for thousands of students.
In E. V. R. Nagammai Corporation Girls Higher Secondary School, there are 4,200 students and shockingly only 12 toilets. Girl students find it tough to use them during their break period as hundreds of them throng to use the facilities at the same time.
Similarly, there are 1,300 students in Kakkaipadiniyar Corporation Girls Higher Secondary School and there are 14 toilets. The school has now made a request to the Corporation authorities to construct more toilets.
At Maasathiyar Corporation Girls Higher Secondary School, there are only four toilets for over 400 students and staff. When the school was upgraded in 2009, the student strength had naturally gone up and this put a constraint on toilets.
Same is the case with Velli Veethiyar Girls Higher Secondary School which has asked for six new toilets since there are over 1,000 students.
While there are 66 Corporation schools in Madurai with 18,000 students, the common grievance of many schools is lack of sufficient toilets for students as a result of which parents complaint about lack of basic facilities for their children, especially in the girls’ schools.
“We are aware of the situation in Corporation schools. A comprehensive list has been prepared based on the requirements of each school. Our focus is on equipping them with basic amenities and construction of additional toilets is top priority,” R. Nantha Gopal, Corporation Commissioner, said recently.
It was found during a recent spot assessment that 18 high schools and higher secondary schools of the Corporation were having inadequate toilets and classrooms. A major hardship expressed by schools was about classes being conducted under asbestos roofs as there were not enough classrooms.
A.Gomathi, Headmistress, Kakkaipadiniyar Corporation Girls Higher Secondary School, talking about the plight of girl students because of lack of proper classrooms said, “If toilets are of prime importance for us, it is also equally important to have good classroom facilities. Students are falling sick because of heat due to asbestos sheets”. “Top officials from the Corporation visited our school on June 27 to know our immediate needs,” she added.
The situation at Maasathiyar Corporation Girls Higher Secondary School too is grim as students of two sections of a class have to sit in one hall.
“Number of students has increased whereas there are no classrooms. Cleaning of toilets is being done only in the mornings and by afternoon they stink like anything as students use them. The health of students is getting affected. Schools should have sweepers throughout the day,” a teacher said.
R.Mathialagan Raj, Corporation Education Officer, admits that toilets have direct impact on student admissions because parents would hesitate to send their children to corporation school if there are no proper toilet facilities there.
“We have prepared a list of requirements, be it drainage, drinking water or toilets. Everything will be completed soon,” he assured.
According to S. Vijayalakshmi, HM of E.V. R. Nagammai Corporation Girls Higher Secondary School, the Corporation has paid good attention towards electricity/ electrical fittings and the same can be done for toilets also.
“There are space constraints in schools for construction of additional toilets. Still, we have to do that and parents are also asking for amenities in schools,” she says.
The Corporation Commissioner had personally visited various schools to study the situation.
Corporation Mayor V. V. Rajan Chellappa also visited a few schools to assess the situation and one of them was Velli Veethiyar School.
“Our Mayor has seen the asbestos roof sheds and toilets in our school. Since asbestos heat is causing problems for students, he assured that they will be removed. Some girls are not going to toilet at all due to the rush and that is causing urinary infection. We are hoping to get new toilets soon,” said P. Meena, school HM.
“In 18 schools, the existing toilets are not proper. We had convened a HMs meet to list out their needs. On June 25, I went to 60-year-old Melavasal Corporation Elementary School and found many deficiencies. The Corporation will carry out a drive to improve toilet facilities in schools because only then we can get students,” Mr. Nantha Gopal said.
Headmasters, teachers, students and parents are hoping that the Madurai Corporation will get its act together and provide basic facilities in both girls and boys schools.