Saturday, March 8, 2014

3 years after RTE, 1.3L schools have no toilets

NEW DELHI: More than three years after the implementation of the RTE Act and an expenditure of over Rs 46,282.11 crore on school infrastructure, around 1.28 lakh out of 10,75,407 government elementary schools across the country still don't have toilets and over 61,000 lack drinking water facilities.

According to the District Information System for Education 2011-12, Bihar has 18,169 schools without lavatories, the highest among states. Andhra Pradesh follows with 18,092 such schools, while Chhattisgarh (14,697), Jammu & Kashmir (12,341), Odisha (10,579) and Uttar Pradesh (12,104) are others with more than 10,000 schools lacking the facility. Jharkhand has 8,404 such schools and West Bengal 7,561.

Among schools without drinking water facility, Andhra Pradesh suffers the worst with 11,461 such institutions. Maharashtra, Assam, J&K, Bihar and Jharkhand have more than 3,000 such schools each.

This is inspite of Rs 28,171.6 crores (cumulative figure for all states and UTs) being released during 2010-11 and 2011-12 for boosting infrastructure in schools.

The RTE Act was passed by the Parliament in 2009 and was notified as law on August 26 , 2009 guaranteeing free and compulsory education for children between six to 14 years of age. The law came into effect from April 1, 2010 across all states barring J&K. As per the provisions of the law under the "norms and standards" category, schools have to provide separate toilets for boys and girls and safe and adequate drinking water facility for all children.

Even the Elementary Education in India report's Educational Development Index 2011-12 of National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) says that infrastructure includes student-classroom ratio, classroom-teacher ratio, drinking water facility, boys' and girls' toilets, ramps and kitchen-sheds.

If this is not bad enough, the NEUPA's report, based on DISE data, says that many of the schools which have toilets and drinking water facility, the infrastructure is as good as non-existent as they are non-functional.

For example, 74.63% of schools in Andhra Pradesh have separate boys' toilets, but only 21.57% are functional. Same is the case with girls' toilets, with just 61.38 of them functional.

Across the country, says the report, 81.14% schools have boys' toilets of which only 65.87% are functional, and of the 72.16% schools which have girls' toilets, only 84.68% are functional.

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