In what could be described as a shameful and appalling situation, 7,576 out of a total 11,429 government schools, in the Jammu division comprising 10 districts, don’t have toilet facilities for students, particularly girls.
Official statistics reveal 63 out of total 296 Government High Schools (upto 12th standard) in Jammu don’t have toilets for students. Of the 602, 202 Government High Schools (upto 10th standard) also don’t have toilets for students and staff members.
This information has been furnished by the Director School Education (DSE) Jammu in response to an application submitted under Right to Information (RTI) Act by Vilakshana Singh, who is a lawyer by profession. He had filed the application on August 12.
“Out of total 2938 Government Middle schools in Jammu division, 1417 don’t have toilet facility while 1648 schools also lack drinking water facility,” officials said.
Similarly, out of 7593 Government Primary Schools (upto 5th standard), 5353 don’t have drinking water facility while 5894 schools lack toilet facility. Officials further said that 193 Government High Schools and 49 Government Higher Secondary Schools are short of water facilities.
Talking to the Hindustan Times, Vilakhana Singh said, “I moved an RTI application just to know the exact position of drinking water and toilet facilities in government schools. School children always cry to shortage of infrastructure and I wanted to expose the government’s tall claims of having taken development activities in the state to a new level.”
He said the students and the teachers in government schools were being denied even the basic facilities which are provided even to the prisoners.
“Though it is a tradition in India to tell children tales of the golden past but it is an open fact that government schools fail to provide basic amenities to students which is the major reason for growth of private institutions,” he maintained.
Jammu and Kashmir government has made strict rules for private schools under SRO 123 of 2010 regarding drinking water facility and toilet facility, but there are no such rules for the government-run schools.
As per the SRO123, each private school should have separate toilet facility for boys, girls and the staff.
“The state government is making the students to pay for their parents’ inability to send their wards to private schools by denying these students the most basic facilities a human being requires,” the lawyer said.