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Punjab fares poorly in swachh school test, only 3 school make it to national awardee list

Poor performance: Only 3 schools of 40 that the state education dept recommended makes it to the national awardee list; neighbouring Himachal Pradesh and Haryana have done better with Chandigarh drawing a blank

punjab Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:32 IST
Navneet Sharma
Navneet Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab,swachh school test,swachh vidyalaya
Government Senior Secondary School in Dandrala Dhindsa village of Patiala district is among the three schools. It will get the Swachh Vidyalaya awards, along with Rs 50,000 as additional school grant. (HT Photo)

After falling short in the national rankings of cities and railway stations on cleanliness, Punjab has fared poorly in the swachh vidyalaya (clean school) test as well.

Only three state schools figure among 172 that the Union ministry of human resource development (MHRD) has selected from across the country for the first national-level Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskars 2016-17 for “Excellence in sanitation and hygiene practices”.

The state education department had recommended 40 schools for these cleanliness awards from among 20,000-odd government elementary and secondary schools. Of these, 22 schools were in consideration with the maximum number of entries coming from Fazilka, at five.

Punjab is among the laggards in the northern region with Rajasthan emerging on top with 15 schools making the cut. Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi have done better. Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh have drawn a blank. Southern states such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana have done really well.

The schools were assessed on parameters of cleanliness, sanitation, availability of facilities such as toilets, clean and safe drinking water, clean and green campus, hygiene habits among children, and teachers’ involvement in ensuring cleanliness.

Three state schools that made the grade

The three state schools, which have been selected for the national awards after a lengthy selection process, are all in the rural areas. These are Government Primary School in Burj Hari Singh village of Ludhiana district, Government Middle School in Kingra village of Faridkot district and Government Senior Secondary School in Dandrala Dhindsa village of Patiala district.

Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar will give the Swachh Vidyalaya awards, along with Rs 50,000 as additional school grant, to principals of these schools on September 1.

When contacted, Dandrala Dhindsa school principal Sadhu Singh, who is due to retire next month, said he does not know anything about his school winning the award.

“The school’s name was recommended to the central ministry after it won the state award. We also sent a 30-minute video on our school on August 5 but have not heard anything since,” he said, listing clean drinking water, classrooms and toilets, facilities for hand washing and a pro-active team as strong points.

Similarly, Gurpreet Sandhu, head teacher, Govt Primary School, Burj Hari Singh village, also does not have any information. “We have won several awards in different categories in the last 3-4 years. I am confident of bagging this one too, as the school has clean midday meal facilities, classrooms and toilets. We make efforts to inculcate good habits in school children,” said the award-winning teacher.

The awards are part of the Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya (Clean India, Clean School) campaign started by the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

Selected process started 10 months ago

The selection process, which was started 10 months ago, saw thousands of schools from across the country submitting their entries online and going through the selection process that involved self-appraisal by schools, verification by district authorities and independent assessment by the central ministry.

Under the Swachh Bharat campaign, the state’s track record has not been good. When the city rankings were released this year, not a single city from the state was among the top 100 due to serious shortcomings in solid waste collection and processing and disposal. Barring the Beas railway station, most other stations in the state also did not do well in cleanliness rankings released three months ago.

Chosen schools all from rural areas

The three state schools, which have been selected for the national awards after a 10-month selection process, are all in rural areas. These are Government Primary School in Burj Hari Singh village of Ludhiana district, Government Middle School in Kingra village of Faridkot district and Government Senior Secondary School in Dandrala Dhindsa village of Patiala district.

First Published: Aug 23, 2017 11:29 IST