A recent survey has revealed that thousands of schools in the State still lack basic facilities like toilets and electricity. The situation is no better even in big cities like Chennai.
According to the 2012-13-survey report of the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, 1,527 schools in the State have no electricity, 2,269 have no water facility, over a hundred has not even a single classroom, over 14,000 have no playgrounds and a staggering 10,954 schools have no functional toilets.
Chennai too doesn’t fare any better, as over a 100 schools in the city have no functional toilets and 41 have no functional water facility. Chennai has a total of 1,538 schools, according to the survey under various managements.
Coimbatore has about 600 schools without functional toilets. The report says that as many as 8,466 existing toilets in schools are non-functional, waiting for repairs.
Of the 56,571 schools under various managements in the State, 18,815 have no hand-wash facility. While over a hundred schools don’t have a classroom, 431 schools have a single classroom, 13,844 schools have just two classrooms. In fact, about 35 per cent of schools have three or less than three classrooms.
The midday meal scheme pioneered by the State has been emulated across the country. But here too all is not well. Over 15,000 schools in TN have no kitchen sheds to cook food and 347 of these use classrooms instead.
But on a more positive note, children with special needs seem to have an advantage in the State when compared to others.
Over 50 percent of schools have ramps; this is a total of 34,674 schools with ramps. About 4,500 schools, that account for about 8 per cent of schools, have toilets for children with special needs.
Experts in the education sector pointed out that absence of basic facilities like toilets was not only a health issue, but also one of the factors for increasing school dropout rate.
“For school students, especially girls, absence of proper toilet facility, is one of the reasons for dropping out, especially after puberty. This has been echoed time and again by NGOs. The absence of toilets also point towards a break down of mechanisms like yearly renewal of sanitary certificates of schools buildings. If the process is being carried out by the local bodies, how come so many schools are without functional toilets.” said Prince Gajendra Babu, general secretary of the State Platform for School System.