Though the union human resource development (HRD) ministry has adjudged Hisar as the best district in terms of the availability of separate toilets for girls in government schools, the ground reality is far from impressive. In fact, the plight of girl students in Hisar is much like that of those in the state’s worst district of Mewat.
Sanjana Rani, 14, a student of Class 10 at the Government School at Sainipura village in Hisar’s Hansi block, says though her school has a separate toilet facility for girls, it has been dysfunctional. Worse, the lone toilet is meant for 300 girls.
So, how do the girls manage? “There is no escape for us. We have to use the same toilet that is choked with polythene. We go there despite the muck and stench,” says Sanjana.
Toilets for staff only
The school has three other functional toilets but they are reserved for staff members. Sanjana says if a student needs to use the toilet, she either has to choose between returning home or missing school. When asked if their parents had taken up the issue with the school staff, she says, “They do and so do we but cleaning a single toilet when it is used by 300 girls is a huge challenge for one sweeper.”
Did the children inform education department officials when they visit the school? “If we make any such complaint, we get reprimanded by the headmaster.”
Asked if she was apprehensive about sharing such details with the media, she says, “We can’t be afraid of speaking up. We need hygienic conditions too. If everyone sits quiet, how will we ever find a solution?” She admits that she is not aware of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s resolve to ensure separate toilets for girls in schools. “It is a good idea. If students use clean toilets, they will have sound health and can study well,” she adds.
What they say
There’s no space for more toilets, claims school headmaster
School headmaster Tara Chand claims he has raised the issue of building more toilets for students with the district education authorities on several occasions. “The authorities are in the know. We have a space crunch in the premises due to which more toilets can’t be built,” he adds.
DC talks tough
Hisar deputy commissioner ML Kaushik terms the inadequate toilet facility in government schools deplorable. “This is a basic necessity and the government has specially released funds for building and maintaining toilets. I will get this issue investigated at my own level and if lapses are found, the authority concerned will be suspended,” he says.
Education not priority: Chaudhry
Satrol khap women’s wing pradhan Sudesh Chaudhry says that like in the rest of the state, schools in Hisar are victims of government apathy. “Education is not a priority for the government. I have been urging mothers to send their children, particularly girls, to school but this such factors (lack of toilets) are discouraging,” she adds.
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