Bengaluru, (DHNS): Karnataka has identified over 2,000 government schools that do not have toilets and has started work on building them, after repeated push from the Narendra Modi administration to ensure every school has a separate toilets for boys and girls. While the state government has identified 2,007 schools without toilets, the figure is much lower compared with records maintained by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), which show that Karnataka has over 6,000 schools without separate toilets for boys and girls. On April 18, the Department of School Education and Literacy under MHRD wrote to the state government, asking authorities to ensure availability and functionality of toilets in all schools within a month.
The MHRD letter came with statistics, which showed Karnataka had 6,336 government schools, including higher secondary (Class 12), that either did not have toilets or had dysfunctional ones. The state was asked to submit an action taken report before May 31. On June 8, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) here wrote back to the MHRD that construction of toilets was under way in 2,007 schools — 1,357 boys’ toilets and 650 girls’ toilets — at a cost of Rs 34.11 crore. “We maintain records of only schools up to the secondary level (Class 10). We don’t have complete records on higher secondary schools,” SSA director (Programmes) S Honnamba said, referring to the statistical disparity. The state education department has informed the MHRD that it is taking up toilet construction works in convergence with the rural development and panchayat raj (RDPR) department. Each toilet costs Rs 1.7 lakh.
The education department will bear Rs 1 lakh, while the RDPR department will pitch in with Rs 70,000. The state government has also said that toilets will be repaired. Educationist V P Niranjan Aradhya was critical of the education department. “In the past, authorities reported that all schools had been provided with toilets, but that was just on paper. “The key is to ensure toilets that are usable,” he said.
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