As schools reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring hygienic conditions becomes paramount for the safety and wellbeing of students. Unfortunately, government schools in Karnataka face dire challenges in maintaining clean and functional toilets. This guide outlines steps to address this critical issue.
1. Understanding the need: Government school toilets often lack proper maintenance, forcing students, especially girls, to avoid using them, impacting education. Recognize the critical link between clean toilets, girls’ education, and hygiene.
2. Identifying the gap: Government allocations, such as those from Rashtriya Madhyamika Shiksha (RMSA), fall significantly short—schools receive minimal funds, hindering essential maintenance like repairs and cleaning.
3. Highlighting the impact: Poorly maintained toilets lead to increased dropout rates among girls, especially during puberty. Emphasise the urgency and importance of prioritising toilet maintenance in schools.
4. Addressing the solution: Advocate for a substantial increase in funds—request an allocation of Rs 15,000 per month per school to ensure proper maintenance and cleanliness of toilets.
5. Essential infrastructure: Besides adequate funds, stress the need for clean, running water in schools—a fundamental requirement for maintaining hygienic facilities.
6. Support for menstrual hygiene: Push for sustainable menstrual hygiene kits to be provided to girls, promoting their health, dignity, and continued education.
7. Budget allocations: Call for a substantial budgetary allocation of Rs 1,656 Crores per annum specifically for girls’ toilets in Karnataka’s 92,000 schools—a crucial step towards education, sanitation, and women’s empowerment.
8. Community support: Encourage citizens to show their support by signing the petition on Change.org (see this http://Change.org/CleanSchoolToilets). Urge them to share photos highlighting the poor maintenance or lack of sufficient toilets in schools.
Improving toilet conditions in government schools is pivotal for ensuring students’ education and health. Through increased funding, adequate infrastructure, and support for menstrual hygiene, we can bridge the gap and create safer, more conducive learning environments.
Note: Don’t forget to proofread and make sure all details are accurate before sharing your message with the government and the public.
With the support of 56,989 supporters petitioners, Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa, earmarked Rs 100 crore specifically for government-run schools while declaring the state budget on March 8, 2021. This significant allocation will be utilised across two years to enhance toilet facilities and ensure water provisions in all 49,000 government schools statewide. The responsibility for overseeing this initiative will lie with the Panchayath Raj institutions. Read more details here.