47,000 schools in state have no toilets
Jinka Nagaraju, TNN Feb 25, 2012, 01.31AM IST

      Toilets|
      Sarva Siksha Abhiyan|
      Government schools|
      assembly

HYDERABAD: The state assembly may have discussed the lack of toilets in government
schools in the state on Friday, but the reality on the ground seems to be worse. It turns out that
almost 47,000 of the 76,000 government schools across Andhra Pradesh do not have toilets or
provide drinking water.

As per the website of the state government-run project Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA), 53,801
primary, upper primary and higher secondary schools have no toilet facility for girls. 35,326
schools do not have toilet facilities for anybody.

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When the matter of minimum conveniences not being provided in the government schools was
brought to the notice of the Supreme Court in September last year, the apex court directed the
states to provide water and sanitation facility in all schools by the end of November 2011. A
bench headed by Justice D K Jain directed all the governments to take immediate steps regarding
this and file their compliance report before the deadline fixed by it.

Andhra Pradesh is far from compliance with the SC directive. A Sarva Siksha Abhiyan official
claimed that of the total 76,000 government schools in the state, toilet facilities do not exist in
8300 of them. "We have provided temporary arrangements in these schools and permanent
structures will be constructed by March, 2012," he said. However, according to a Unicef-backed
survey conducted by NGO Pratham in 2010-11, the situation is even more dismal in Andhra
Pradesh. About 42.6 per cent of the government schools in the state have toilets but they are not
usable, it said.

"As per our estimates, over 47,000 government schools in AP do not have toilet facilities," said
R Venkata Reddy, national education coordinator for MV Foundation, an NGO.

According to Venkat Reddy, the disparity between the claims of the state in providing toilets and
what they have found in reality is because of the definition of a toilet. "The state government
identifies any structure as toilet. But in reality, they are not usable because of lack of
maintenance or lack of water. Students shudder to enter these places, but they have no option,"
he said.

"Our schools demonstrate complete lack of sensitivity towards the problems of the students from
the poorer section. In fact, in the building plans of many schools, no provision is made for
toilets," Venkat Reddy said.

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