Primary and Secondary Education Minister Kimmane Ratnakar, who took charge on Monday, said the department would give priority to providing basic facilities such as toilets for boys and girls, electricity, playground, library, and drinking water in schools.

Mr. Ratnakar, Minister of State (Independent charge), conducted puja at the office in the State secretariat in the presence of his well-wishers and officials.

He said saffronisation of education would not be allowed and steps would be taken to address issues such as shortage of teachers and infrastructure.

Noting that reforms would be introduced to increase the quality of primary and secondary education, the Minister said suitable suggestions would be sought from his predecessors to ensure transparency in administration. Mr. Ratnakar said he would hold meetings with officials of the department to take stock of the issues affecting the primary and secondary education.

A good number of high schools and elementary schools in the State have been deprived of basic amenities. Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has made mandatory provision of eight basic facilities in schools and they are boys’ toilets, girls’ toilets, electricity, playground, ramps, library, compound wall and drinking water.

According to District Information System for Education (DISE) data of 2011-12, nearly 25 per cent of high schools do not have playgrounds. Eleven per cent and 6.99 per cent of high schools do not have toilets for boys and girls, respectively.

The Supreme Court has directed all States and Union Territories to ensure that basic toilet facilities, in particular to girl students, in all schools.

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