Parents welcome initiative; hope for better toilets for wards
Schools that have taken significant steps to improve the sanitation facilities will be eligible for the annual ‘National School Sanitation Awards.'
According to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), it has been decided by the Ministry of Human Resource Development to institute the annual awards for those schools which have been rated online for sanitation and have “taken noteworthy steps towards betterment of the sanitation scenario in their schools in varied ways.”
This follows the joint launch by the Ministries of Urban Development and Human Resource Development of the National School Sanitation Initiative in 2010. It was launched in collaboration with the CBSE and non-governmental organisation GIZ.
Awards will be given in the categories of ‘awareness generation leading to behavioural change through students and community', mobilisation, technical innovation and interventions, creation and conservation of green spaces, and public private partnerships. Schools will be judged based on sustainability, whether the model is replicable, innovation and dynamism.
Parents, who welcomed the initiative, said it was time schools paid more attention to sanitation and toilets, in particular. Parents of many students going to well-known CBSE schools maintained that the condition of the toilets in their wards' schools was very bad.
‘Students avoid toilets'
On condition of anonymity, a PTA member of a CBSE school in T. Nagar said: “My daughter never uses the toilet in school. Sometimes, she limits water intake as a measure to avoid using the dirty toilet. The school collects a lot of fees, but the toilets are not cleaned regularly.”
S. Vidya, parent of a class VIII student going to a school in Adyar, said her daughter suffered a urinary infection last year. “I found out that the toilet she uses in school was not clean enough. We complained to her teacher, but not much has changed,” she said.
Such a contest might encourage schools to pay more attention to the issue, said N. Kumar, a parent. The frequency of cleaning the toilets has to be increased, particularly for children in lower classes. “They tend to use the rest rooms more often and adequate water and very frequent cleaning become important. About 100 LKG children use three restrooms, in my son's school,” he said.