Shimla: Here’s a reminder to the Himachal Pradesh government that numbers do not always count. While the state leadership has been making it a point to boast about their achievement in the field of education at every possible platform, hardly have they ever talked about the quality of education being received by children whom they claim to have saved from the darkness of ignorance. A recent national survey on cleanliness in government schools has brought out startling findings that should be a reason of concern for all those states, including Himachal, that till now been at the top of the table on the literacy chart. been topping the literacy rate in the recent years.
Himachal Pradesh finds its name among the states where hygiene in schools, especially the primary wings, was found most non-satisfactory as per a study conducted by the National University of Education Planning and Administration. Himachal is at the fourth spot just behind Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Karnataka, all leading in educational statistics.
The survey has found that in Himachal, which has bagged several awards for possessing best educational fundamental facilities, the absence of proper toilet arrangements, especially in primary schools, was the biggest threat to the health of students. The study has also raised a question mark over the cleanliness in the school surroundings, stating that garbage creates havoc in rainy season and poses as a major health hazard.
Department officials admitted that hygiene in and around schools was indeed poor, but had no concrete answer as to what would be done to improve the situation. The only they could say was that a survey was being conducted in schools and toilet facilities would be provided in all these institutions during the current financial year. But what about toilets that were built and could not be used even for a day as either there was no water, no doors or simply no commode? The officials, of course, had no answer.
The government has also been talking about bringing these schools under the Grameen Savachata Abhiyaan, but that again does not appear to be a solution going by the success of the latter scheme. What the government need is motivation to push the official machinery to do quality work and not just work.