Toilets in schools: SC pushes for well-being of students - The Tribune India

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Toilets in schools

SC pushes for well-being of students

Toilets in schools

Photo for representational purpose only.



VARIOUS studies have shown that the lack of clean and functional toilets in schools directly impacts education. Menstruating girls bear the brunt, leading to low attendance and some even choosing to drop out. Instances abound of students limiting their consumption of food and drinks to avoid having to use the toilet. A 2020 survey of 1,967 co-educational government schools found that 40 per cent of the toilets were non-existent or unused. Nearly 72 per cent had no running water. The Supreme Court’s directive to the Centre to upgrade the sanitation infrastructure is significant. The government has been asked to formulate a national model for building toilets commensurate with the number of girls in government-aided and residential schools.

Earlier, all states and UTs had been ordered to submit their menstrual hygiene plans. Specific information was sought on the steps taken to provide low-cost sanitary pads and vending machines in schools as well as appropriate disposal facilities. The apex court has now called for adopting the best practices and bringing uniformity in terms of modalities for the distribution of sanitary napkins. The Centre has said its draft national policy on menstrual hygiene has been sent to the stakeholders for eliciting comments.

It was almost a decade ago that the Supreme Court ruled that all schools must have separate toilets for boys and girls and adequate water facilities, terming these as integral to the Right to Education Act. According to surveys, girls’ participation in education has considerably increased after the construction of toilets. Ensuring efficient sanitation becomes all the more vital. It’s a simple question of priorities. Lack of funds is a disingenuous argument when the end goals are to enhance the well-being of the students and the staff, prioritise privacy and promote hygienic practices.


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