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Schools in the country still have a long way to go with respect to ideal sanitation standards. Less than 1% of the 500 CBSE schools that took the school sanitation rating challenge posed by the board's National School Sanitation Initiative managed the green rating, indicating that only four institutions meet more than 90% of the norms that are prescribed. In Tamil Nadu, not a single school got the green rating, while 16 of the 19 schools that took the test received a red rating, which indicates that they do not meet even one-third of the standards expected. The message for them is that the sanitation level is "grim and needs immediate attention."
The Ashok Leyland School in Hosur got a blue rating, the second highest, which says "very good, but there is scope for improvement," while Boaz Public School on Chennai's outskirts managed a yellow rating — "fair: can improve." "I would attribute the poor rating of state schools to the lack of proper maintenance of washrooms, lack of running water supply and proper maintenance of surrounding areas," said CBSE regional director T Sudarshana Rao. He said the poor response was because of lack of awareness. Just 19 of the 356 CBSE schools in the state took the test since the initiative's launch in last July, with none of the leading schools accepting the challenge.
Participation in the rating is voluntary now, but the board has indicated it is likely to be made mandatory. CBSE has also shown that it places a lot of importance on the rating as it has asked all schools to mention their rating in all their correspondence with the board. Under the National School Sanitation Initiative, it is mandatory for schools to emphasise on personal hygiene, proper sanitation, clean toilet habits, safe drinking water and separate toilets for girls and boys. Proper disposal, including recycling of waste water, waste segregation and composting, food hygiene and creation and conservation of green spaces are also insisted upon.
Experts said that both the state and the CBSE set proper standards for schools when they seek affiliation, such as one urinal for 40 boys and one toilet for 20 girls, but these are rarely checked after affiliation is given. "The school would have had the requisite number of toilets when applying for affiliation, but would not have added amenities after the student strength increased. Many sanitation and fire safety inspections are done arbitrarily without proper checking," said educational consultant K.R Maalathi.
Courtesy: Times of India
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