36,000 State schools have no toilets

Adilabad/Hyderabad, July 2: About 36,000 government schools across the State either have no toilets or the facility is not good enough for grown-up girls. Of these 36,000 schools, over 4,000 are high schools and the remaining are primary and upper primary schools. There are 40 lakh students studying in government high schools, of which nearly 45 per cent are girls.
If this is not enough, about 24,000 schools do not have safe drinking water facility, 5,000 schools lack furniture, and 20,000 schools do not have classrooms for these students. One example is the zilla parishad high school for girls in Asifabad, Adilabad. There is one toilet for over 600 girl students. Girls stand in long queues during the 10-minute interval to use the toilet and return late to class.
The school has many tribal girls among its students. "Girls face an embarrassing situation every day as there is only one toilet for over 600 students," said teacher M. Hemalatha. She said that the school had two toilets but one was damaged long ago. "There was no action from officials even after repeated appeals to repair it," the teacher told this newspaper in Asifabad.
And yet, the government wonders why the number of girls in its high schools is not increasing. Indeed, girls are dropping out of government-run high schools. The Asifabad school has seven rooms of which one is used as an office. The remaining classroms are overcrowded. Ms Hemalatha complained that school land had been encroached upon. Some people have built houses in the school premises itself as it does not have a compound wall.
"We are not in a position to grow trees in the school as cattle eat up the saplings," she said. When contacted, school education director S. Balasubrahmanyam confirmed to this newspaper in Hdyerabad that 36,000 schools did not have toilets. "Yes, a substantial number of schools do not have toilets, drinking water, furniture and power supply," he said.
Mr Balasubrahmanyamsaid the government had released Rs 66 crores to provide toilet facilities in schools, another Rs 16 crores for furniture and Rs 152 crores for drinking water connections, Rs 9 crores for payment of electricity dues.
"Despite all this, much more needs to be done in government schools. We have written to the government to give another Rs 72 crores to provide furniture in more schools," Mr Balasubrahmanyam added. In all, there are 74,000 government schools with a student strength of 1.10 crores. Of these, 45,000 are primary, 16,000 are upper primary and over 10,000 are high schools.
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