Students do not have access to toilets in government schools as they have lower student-toilet ratio than the prescribed norms under the Swachh Vidyalaya Scheme.
Government schools in the city lack an adequate number of hygienic toilets for students to use. The student–toilet ratio in the government schools does not match the prescribed norms. The Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya scheme states that there should be one toilet and three urinals for every 40 students.
The government high school in K.Golahalli hasonly four urinals for 189 boys. Arunakshi, a teacher from the school, also said, “We have quite a few specially-abled children in the school but there are no separate toilets and other facilities for them.”
However, the norms for the toilet to student ratio under the Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya scheme is much weaker than global norms. The guidelines by the World Health Organization (WHO) state that there should be one toilet per 25 girls and one female staff and one toilet per 50 boys with one male staff.
Certain government schools in Bengaluru like the Government Lower Primary School (GLPS) in Thagachaguppe with the strength of 150 students has only one toilet for 86 girls. Sowmya the Assistant Teacher of GLPS Thagachaguppe said, “The toilets in the school are not adequate. The fund we get for the maintenance of toilets is just Rs. 4,000, which is not enough to construct more toilets and facilities.”
Jeevitha, a student from the Government high school in K.Golahalli, said, “The washrooms are not clean and hygienic and it would be great if more toilets were constructed.”
Another Head Mistress from GLPS Devagere said, “We get Rs. 4,000 every year for the maintenance of the toilets. We do not face any such problems with hygiene and maintenance as the strength of the school is just 17 and there are adequate separate toilets for both boys and girls.”
Lakshmi Narayan, the Planning Assistant from the Public Instructions Department said, “For the project ‘Maintenance of Toilet and Drinking water’ in schools we release fund of Rs. 35 crore for schools all over Karnataka, out of which Rs. 17.5 crore has already been released and utilized by the concerned department and the remainder will be exhausted by the end of December.”
However, a report by the Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) shows that out of 49,679 government schools in Karnataka almost 800 have non-functional toilets.
Aruna Dewakar, the Founder of Kritagyata Trust said that the government has taken steps to construct more toilets and maintain them properly in government schools.
However “there is a huge gap between the number of toilets prescribed for government schools and the number of toilets actually being constructed and maintained properly” she added.
She further said that many girls drop out from schools after they reach puberty because of lack of adequate toilet facilities in government schools. The Department of Education should take more efforts to construct adequate number of toilets in government schools and to properly maintain already constructed toilets as hygiene is equally important as education. She also said that it is not only the responsibility of the government, individuals, NGOs and the panchayat of the particular village can take charge and help in the betterment of society.