In violation of the Right to Education Act, hundreds of government schools in Uttar Pradesh are yet to build separate toilets for girls and boys, while the ones that do have segregated washrooms fall short of requirements under the Act, a survey shows.
According to the Act, for every 20 students there should be one toilet each for boys and girls.
But according to the survey carried out by the District Information System for Education for 2013-14, about 2,355 government elementary schools in UP do not have separate toilets for girls and another 4,634 schools lack the same for boys.
Also, a total of 5,971 girls' toilets are dysfunctional, while 3,852 boys' toilets lack adequate facilities in these schools.
The total number of government elementary schools in UP is 160,763, in which nearly 1.9 crore children are enrolled.
Since a large number of primary schools lack toilets, teachers have no alternative but to let students go home during school hours to ease themselves.
In a state where crimes against women have been rising, parents are particularly reluctant to send their daughters to schools that lack segregated toilets or have no toilets at all. This is one of the major reasons for increasing number of drop-outs.
Ballia district is the worst in terms of availability of toilets in schools. Out of 2,572 government schools in the district, 514 schools lack separate toilets for girls, while 1,405 of the toilets meant for girls are dysfunctional.
"We wrote to the district education officer twice saying that for 200 students we have only one toilet and there is no toilet for the staff," said a headmistress of a school in the district, wishing anonymity.
Even in Varanasi, which is now Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency, out of 1,400 government elementary schools, 19 do not have separate toilets for girls and another 133 girls' toilets are barely functional.
Modi, in his I-day speech on Friday, had exhorted all schools to construct separate toilets for girl students within a year.
When contacted, director basic education Dinesh Babu Sharma told HT that efforts would be made to ensure that an adequate number of toilets is constructed in UP schools at the earliest.