Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa presented the Budget for the state on Monday which comprises of a Rs 100 crore allotted to repair and upgrade the toilets in government schools and provision of water connectivity for the next two years.
The move to allocate funds was passed after deliberating on the findings released in February 2021 that 55 per cent of the government school toilets in Karnataka lack adequate facilities. The survey consists of a score of 0 or 1 to 27,149 from the 49,297 schools recorded. The score elicits scope of improvement for the infrastructure.
According to the survey, from the 4,765 schools, around 3,833 had toilets in extremely poor conditions. From the 22,172 upper primary schools, 13,007 have been reported to be in a poor condition. The same pattern has been recorded for the 10,559 from the 22,342 primary schools registered.
Archana KR, an activist has recorded the critical conditions of the toilets in the government schools from different parts of Karnataka. Archana frequently visited the government schools over eight years and has raised the voice for higher funds to be made available for schools to upgrade the conditions of the toilets.
In conversation with TNM, Archana KR said, “I had documented 300 schools in a separate survey and in my sample, I found that 70% schools had toilets in poor condition. I placed a higher value on the opinion of students rather than teachers.” Archana had put up her petition over the platform of Change.org which had grabbed the attention of Karnataka Education Minister S Suresh Kumar in November 2020 and responded the petition.
Archana marked that the school toilets from the north Kannada districts of Belagavi, Dharwad, Hubbali, and Raichur were observed to be with broken doors, broken tiles, mangled pipelines and dity bowls. She further said, “In Bengaluru, the toilets in the northern part of the city are comparatively worse than those in the southern part. Toilets in Hubballi, Dharwad, Belagavi and Raichur are in poor condition. Chikkaballapura has toilet facilities in most schools but water connection is not there.”
She iterated on lack of funds as the major problem. “Toilets become the last priority for school authorities to address,” added Archana.
The findings by Archana and the survey compilation by the Education Department on the survey of infrastructure of schools was synchronized and eventually the state government allocated funds for repair of the school toilets.
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