Focus on school sanitation
In an attempt to promote water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in schools in Telangana, Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) jointly conducted a day-long workshop, titled: Swachh Telangana and Swachh Patashala, at ASCI's Bella Vista Camus in Khairatabad, Hyderabad. District Education Officers (DEOs), Executive Engineers and Project Officers of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) from all the districts in Telangana took part in the workshop.
While deputy chief minister Kadiyam Srihari, who is also the education minister, delivered the keynote address, School Education Director Chiranjeevulu, principal secretary Ranjeev R Acharya, UNICEF’s Child Protection Specialist Sony Kutti George and ASCI’s Prof V Srinivas Chary also spoke. Salathiel Nalli (WASH officer, UNICEF) and Snehalatha (WASH Consultant) made presentations on “Hygiene and Behaviour Change” and “Operation and Maintenance” respectively.
ASCI’s Siriesh Darbha made a presentation on “Sanitation and Drinking Water.” Releasing training material for teachers and headmasters he said, “The TRS government is determined to give a new facelift to all schools by providing basic facilities and faculty. If we can halt migration of students from government schools to private schools, it will be a great contribution to the society. Each school should have a toilet. This is our first priority.
Lack of water supply and poor maintenance are twin problems we face in schools. Efforts are on to tackle them on priority basis.” “We allocated Rs 120 crore for toilets, Rs 80 cr for water, Rs 48 cr for the construction of school compounds and Rs 260 cr to build kitchen sheds. DEOs may approach collectors for some funds to be drawn from Rs.10 crore we earmarked for every collector. Headmaster may approach villagers and donors.
DEOs should take initiative and approach industrialists, business establishments, NRIs and rich people of the respective areas in this endeavour. Since next generation is in our hands, those who are working in Education should have human angle,” he said.
“We select a DEO, who can complete the task with pro-activeness and efficiency and he or she will get a prize from the Chief Minister. We know that there are some gaps in the department. We don't have MEOs and Deputy DEOs. You are unable to achieve the desired results because you are handicapped. But try to do your best,” he said.
Both Ranjeev R Acharya and Chiranjeevulu asked the officials to act on war footing to ensure complete hygiene in schools. “Within three to four months, there should be qualitative change in terms of hygiene in Telangana schools. Construction, maintenance and training & capacity building should go hand in hand,” Chiranjeevulu said.
The ASCI’s professor V Srinivas Chary in his presentation (WASH in Schools: Key Evidences and Outcomes) underlined the need of inculcating the habit of washing hands before taking any food among the children. He spoke about cost-effective group hand wash models.