iconimg Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Shahroz Afridi, Hindustan Times
October 22, 2012
Students of over one lakh government primary and middle schools in the state would not have to sweep their classrooms anymore. Rajya Shiksha Kendra has issued a circular to collectors of all the districts to provide funds from Panch Parmeshwar scheme for sanitation in schools.

HT, in its story on August 8, had revealed how students were being made to sweep their classrooms because of lack of budget. Following the story, panchayat and rural development department took the initiative to offer help to school education department in providing budget to maintain cleanliness in schools. President of Chhattarpur municipality, Archna Singh was the first to take the responsibility of sanitation in schools in areas under her jurisdiction. Subsequently, when panchayat minister Gopal Bhargava was asked whether this step could be replicated state-wide, he not only answered in affirmative but also issued directives to panchayat heads to use funds from Panch Parmeshwar scheme for the purpose.

A formal order was issued from the panchayat and rural development on September 27, asking collectors to make sanitation arrangements from Panch Parmeshwar scheme including the schools.

Provision of funds for purchase of sanitation equipment like broom, bins, gloves etc and appointment of sanitation worker would be made through this fund. School management committees (SMC) would coordinate with respective sarpanchs for the purpose.

Order issued by Rajya Shiksha Kendra clearly spells out duty of sanitation worker. It would include cleaning of school premises, classes and toilets on daily basis.

They will also be responsible for cleaning waste of mid-day meal scheme.

Rajya Shiksha Kendra, which governs schools till the middle school level, provides for a negligible Rs. 150 per month to schools for sanitation. As no worker could be employed with this paltry sum, students are compelled to start their routine in the schools with the brooms rather than books and pencils. Not only is crucial study-time lost in this, the entire practice is a violation of a child's rights as well.