Centre issues joint advisory to create hand washing facilities in all government schools

VIKAS SHARMA

JAMMU: With a mission to improve the sanitation facilities and provision of safe drinking water, the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Jal Shakti, National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog and Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR) has asked the States/Union Territories (UTs) including J&K to create hand washing facilities with the provision of soap in all government schools.

The central ministry in its joint advisory has also advised to train teachers for imparting hygiene education to students in all the schools. As per data available, of total 28,805 government schools in J&K UT, as many as 27,730 schools have hand washing facilities while 28045 schools have the safe drinking water facility.

“Not only this, the ministry has also asked for maintaining the overall cleanliness in the Government Schools on priority. Even though the J & K government has come a long way in ensuring the basic facilities like toilets, drinking water etc but sanitation is one issue where the schools have to improve their performance. The joint advisory by the centre government has made it clear that its top most priority is proper cleanliness in government schools. Mere hand washing facility will not serve the purpose unless there is provision of soap in every school for washing hands”, officials said.

“Under ODF Plus, it is also to be ensured that all schools in villages in J&K UT have arrangements for management of biodegradable waste and grey water. It is important to ensure that all the toilets in the schools are in proper functioning condition. However, some of them may require retrofitting from single pit to twin pits. This may be done as part of the on-going campaign of retrofitting from single pit to twin pits”, they added.

“However, the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) Report 2021-22 suggests some gaps in toilets and hand washing facilities. Centre has asked that all these gaps need to be filled by following the saturation approach. Further, hand washing facilities with the provision of soap may be created in all the schools. It is also essential that hygiene education is imparted to the children on all aspects of hygiene. For this purpose, at least one teacher in each school must be trained in hygiene education who in turn should train the children through interesting activities and community projects that emphasize hygiene behaviour”, officials maintained.

The advisory also mentioned that under Jal Jeevan Mission, provision of safe tap water supply in schools, Anganwadi Centres, Ashram Shalas is a top priority of the Government for ensuring good health and wellbeing of children.