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First hygiene habits, then admission

To get into junior college, you need to fill and submit not just the admission form, but also another form informing the state government how often you wash your hands and whether you use soap.

mumbai Updated: Jun 18, 2011 02:28 IST
Sayli Udas Mankikar

To get into junior college, you need to fill and submit not just the admission form, but also another form informing the state government how often you wash your hands and whether you use soap.

A circular issued by the state’s higher and technical education department in April, makes it compulsory for all colleges to attach a ‘hygiene and cleanliness’ form with the admission form. The form quizzes students about their personal hygiene, whether they have toilets at home, and if they don’t, then the reason for that.

Finally, believe it or not, it asks students to pledge that they will convince their family members to build toilets in the next three months.

When HT questioned him about the hygiene form, an embarrassed higher education minister, Rajesh Tope, said he has ordered the withdrawal of the circular.

“The idea of the form was to spread awareness about sanitation,” Tope said.

“Also, colleges do not provide adequate toilet facilities for girls which is of major concern,” said Tope, clearly discomfited explaining the purpose of the form. “I will immediately call my deputy secretary and withdraw the circular.”

A senior education department official said the intention of the form was to get students from slums and chawls in urban sprawls as well as rural areas thinking about “having individual toilets from a young age”.

The circular promises awards to colleges that, apart from maintaining a high level of sanitation, spread the message of personal hygiene by making sure all students fill the forms and encourage their families to build toilets for their own use.