MP government report: 90% schools without water tap, 40% without power
Education experts say that education is not on the priority list of the government.Updated: Oct 09, 2020, 14:00 IST
Over 90% of government primary and middle schools in Madhya Pradesh do not have drinking water taps and four out of every ten schools are without electricity and a hand wash facility, according to unified district information system for education (UDISE) plus report.
The report provides data of 99,987 schools as on July 18, 2020 and shows that many schools in the Central Indian state lack basic amenities for students such as drinking water facility.
As many as 90,912 schools are without taps and 99,776 schools have unprotected wells. About 82.86% of all such schools don’t have other safe water source, as per the report.
However, the report shows that progress has been made in providing toilet facilities in schools even though 1,208 schools are without toilets. In 3,654 schools, there are no functional toilets for boys and none for girls in 2,760 schools, the report said.
The report also pointed out that half of these schools, don’t have a separate room for principal, 1,582 schools are existing without a building and 13,759 schools have no boundary walls.
The infrastructural gaps also exist in the eight aspirational districts in the state identified by the National Institution for Transforming India (Niti) Aayog. They include Barwani, Chhatarpur, Damoh, Khandwa, Rajgarh, Vidisha, Singrauli and Guna, according to a letter written to collectors of these districts by commissioner, Rajya Shiksha Kendra, Lokesh Kumar Jatav.
Jatav, in the letter, said, “Infrastructural gaps vis-à-vis toilets (boys/girls) and drinking water, as reflected in U-DISE 2019-20, is a matter of concern as it suggests carelessness and indifferent attitude towards the work. Please get the data updated by identifying the schools with infrastructural gaps and take action against assistant and junior engineers concerned, identified for carelessness and indifferent attitude.”
Recently, minister of state for school education Inder Singh Parmar had said that the schools with less resource will be developed in a modern away and a number of schools will be upgraded under the CM-rise-schools scheme across the state.
The school education department has listed 10,000 schools across the state to be equipped with modern facilities and technology under the scheme and for putting in place required resources to “develop capability and efficiency of modern 21st century in students”, according to a department document.
Despite the claim, the state government reduced the budget of school education department by Rs 1,266 crore in this financial year citing Covid-19 pandemic.
Educationist, Anil Sadgopal, said the report didn’t surprise him.
“The figures on infrastructural gaps in the UDISE plus report are not surprising. The fact remains that education doesn’t exist on the priority list of the governments, whether it’s at the Centre or in states.”
Sadgopal blamed apathy in administration towards education for the continuing problems. “Kothari Commission report, as back as in 1966, talked of the concept of a common school system inter alia to strengthen the primary education in the country but nothing concrete took place to implement the Commission’s recommendations in the past six decades or so. When influential people’s children don’t study in government schools, why would these people be worried about the condition of the government schools?,” he asked
Joint director (retired), school education department, KK Pandey, agreed with Sadgopal.
“The government schools are now being run by local bodies, which have no dearth of funds for non-educational projects. The gaps have something to do with the priority of the state government and the local bodies. The department has worked on certain schools like schools of excellence which have good faculty and infrastructure but most of the schools are in shambles,” Pandey said.
Madhya Pradesh teachers’ association’s Ashutosh Pandey said, “When admission in the nearest private schools under Right to Education (RTE) is possible, why should one choose a government school which has no facility? The government doesn’t want to strengthen the infrastructure in the schools. Want of facilities means fewer students in government schools and gives the government a pretext to privatise the school education.”
Social activist Rolly Shivhare said, “We see similar reports every year but nothing happens afterwards on the part of the government. Since education is no priority in the government’s agenda, there is no planning and no budget for education. And thus, the children of weaker section, who prefer such schools don’t get quality education.”
Rajya Shiksha Kendra commissioner Lokesh Kumar Jatav said the government was trying to pool in funds from various sources including local area development funds of the public representatives to strengthen the infrastructure in schools. “We are working on two fronts simultaneously. While we are strengthening the infrastructure we are working on quality of education too. We have taken several measures in this regard like ‘Hamara ghar hamara vidyalaya’ during the pandemic situation,” Jatav added.
UDISE was initiated by the education ministry in 2012-13 to create national school management information systems for elementary education.