The School and Mass Education Department has asked all the schools to follow a uniform water and sanitation norm to ensure a minimum level of services and facilities for the students across the State.
Issuing a fresh set of guidelines, the department has maintained that although a national guideline has been developed in connection with sanitation and water, the schools seldom follow the same in the State. It has been noticed that school sanitation facilities are being constructed without following any clearly-defined norms.
Though the mandate for sanitation and water facilities is with the departments of School and Mass Education, Rural Development and SC and ST Development for the schools in the State, the responsibility for operation and maintenance of the infrastructure lies with the former two since they operate most of the schools.
With the Right To Education (RTE) Act in place, all the schools have to be compliant to the norms which has prompted the School and Mass Education Department to develop standards for construction, cleanliness and maintenance of the sanitation infrastructure for non-residential schools. All the Government departments have to abide by the norms.
The standardised norms stipulate that there must be at least one separate toilet and a separate urinal for 40 girls in each school. The norm for the boys is the same too. The schools have to ensure that a hand-washing tap and a soap each is provided for 20 students.
Besides, each school must have safe drinking water source on the premises. While the source has to be kept at least a distance of 10 metre from the toilet soak pit, a minimum of 500 litre water must be provided for every 100 students. One teacher has to be trained in hygiene in each school.
The department has also brought out a checklist for operation and maintenance and cleaning while children have to participate in the hygiene education taught by the school authorities. The schools have to ensure that sufficient information, education and communication materials are made available for students.