The Prime Minister of India on 15th August, 2014 announced that all government schools in the country should have toilets with separate toilets for girls within one year. The Prime Minister called upon the corporate sector to also participate in this national endeavour. The Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of School Education and Literacy worked intensively to mobilise corporate support in this National Mission and launched “Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya” campaign.
The Swachh Vidyalaya initiative was a collaborative effort of all the Central Government which provided funding through Centrally sponsored schemes of Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, Swachh Bharat Kosh, and the States and Union Territories in partnership with 64 Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and 11 Private Corporate.
At the time of launch of the initiative, the gap in availability of functional toilets in all government schools was assessed and interventions were planned based on the assessment to ensure that every child had access to a gender segregated toilet facility. 4,17,796 toilets were constructed/made functional in 2,61,400 schools in a period of one year upto 15th August, 2015. With this, India has achieved the target of providing 100% access to functional toilets in all government schools across the country. The provision of toilet facilities in all schools has enhanced the sanitation standards in schools leading to better health and hygiene among the children. Enrolment and retention of children in schools, particularly of girls, is also expected to increase significantly. ‘Swachh Vidyalaya’ was also recognized as one of the priority programmes for Prime Minister’s Excellence Award for 2016.
With 100% access having been achieved, the maintenance and repair of these toilets is the focus area. Therefore, the Ministry of Human Resource Development in association with the Ministry of Panchayati Raj and Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation has taken up the matter with State governments to involve Panchayats in regular maintenance and upkeep of the school toilets and for the disposal of solid and liquid waste generated in schools. The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has advised the Panchayati Raj Departments of all States to include the provision for construction of toilets, filling up of gaps in provision of sufficient number of toilets, rehabilitation of existing toilets and drinking water system in schools, regular repair of toilets and drinking water systems in schools, in the Gram Panchayat Development Plan.
During June 2016, DoSEL has instituted Swachh Vidyalaya Puraskar to recognize, inspite and celebrate excellence in sanitation & hygiene practice in Government Schools. Schools will be awarded for undertaking significant steps towards fulfilling the mandate of Swachh Vidyalaya campaign in the following areas: Water, Sanitation, Hand washing with soap, Operations & Maintenance, Behaviour change & capacity building.
At National level 200 schools (100 each at elementary & secondary level) will be awarded with Rs. 50,000 (as additional school grant) along with a certificate of recognition. Apart from national level awards, schools will also be identified for state level (40 schools) and District level (48 schools) awards. They would be given certificate of recognition.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development was assigned to observe Swachhta Pakhwada from 1stSeptember to 15th September, 2016. The Department of School Education & Literacy has made all efforts for effective observance of the Swachhata Pakhwada.
Swachhta Pakhwada was celebrated in various schools/ institutes of Government, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, Navodaya Vidyalaya, NIOS, NCERT and JSS and also in the premises of the Ministry.
School/Institutes have undertaken following activities during Swachhata Pakhwada :
– Cleanliness drive in the Schools (Premises, toilets etc.)
– Various competitions on Swachhata like essay, painting, debate etc.
– Displaying banners and slogan writing on Swachhata.
– Other cultural programmes on Swachhata.
– Swachhata Shapath (pledge).
– Weeding out old files, removal and repair of broken furniture, equipments etc.
– Awareness creation to school children and public through audio-visual programmes.
Swachhata initiatives of the Ministry will result in:
-Improvement in health & hygiene practices of children, their families & communities.
-Inclusion of health & hygiene in the curriculum & teaching methods.
-Aims to improve children’s health, school enrolment, attendance and retention especially of girl child.
-Hygiene in schools also supports school nutrition.
-Healthy and well nourished children can fully participate in school and get the most from the education.
-Behavioral changes in hygiene.
‘Swachh Bharat,Swachh Vidyalaya’ is a primary initiative of Government of India andschools are one of the most important contributory units where from the issues of hygiene and sanitation would emanate to achieve the goals of ‘Clean India’ campaign.