Bangalore: Jan 21, 2014, DHNSGovernment schools across rural Karnataka have seen a steady improvement in a number of basic infrastructural parameters prescribed under the Right to Education Act, according to the Annual Survey on Education Report (ASER).
Under the RTE Act, which the State has implemented in 2010, schools have to fulfil five minimum infrastructural requirements – drinking water, toilets, playgrounds, boundary wall and school building. While the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has prescribed eight such requirements, the State has identified these five indicators.
According to the survey, the percentage of schools with drinking water facilities increased from 76 percent in 2010 to 80 percent in 2013.
The percentage of schools with drinking water facilities but no drinking water decreased from 7 percent in 2010 to 4 percent in 2013. The percentage of those that did not have any such facilities was 17 percent in 2010 and it came down to 15 percent in 2013.
The percentage of schools with usable toilets increased from 38 percent in 2010 to 66 percent in 2013. The percentage of schools that had unusable toilets decreased from 56 per cent in 2010 to 36 per cent in 2013. Provisions for separate usable toilets for girls increased from 31 per cent in 2010 to 59 per cent in 2013.
In 2010, the percentage of schools with playgrounds and boundary wall was 66 percent and 59 percent respectively. By 2013, this arose to 73 percent in case of both the parameters.
The survey also found that the State had a high percentage of schools that served mid day meals and which had kitchen sheds. This was always around 90 percent throughout the three years of the implementation of the RTE Act.
The percentage of schools that served meals was 98 percent in 2013, according to the survey. The implementation of the continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) in schools is also one of the requirements of the RTE Act and almost 91 percent of the government schools said that they had received manuals and formats for its implementation, last year.
The survey was conducted among households in 26 districts of the State as part of a national survey by Pratham, an not-for-profit organisation working in the area of education.
Speaking to Deccan Herlad, Niranjan Aradhaya, fellow, Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University, opined that merely figures are not important. What mattered was quality and functionality.
“A number of schools may have facilities for drinking water, but how many have filters and other facilities for safe drinking water? In many government schools that I work with, many children suffer form cough fever because of unsafe water. This in turn hinders learning. Similarly, toilet facilities without water or even sanitary napkins for girls is of no use,” said Aradhaya.