Topic 2 - How has shifting responsibility to the Ministry of Human Resource Development affected School WASH (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

  • arundatimd
  • arundatimd's Avatar
    Topic Author
  • Posts: 2
  • Likes received: 0

Topic 2 - How has shifting responsibility to the Ministry of Human Resource Development affected School WASH (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Dear all,

The Swachh Vidyalaya mission strives to improve WASH in schools. The aim is to improve children’s health, school enrollment, attendance and retention, paving the way for a new generation of healthy children.

Swachh Vidyalaya is led by the Ministry of Human Resource Development that is responsible for education; however, this was not the Ministry’s first foray into WASH in schools. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act (2010)1 in India provided for free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 years under Article 21a of the Indian Constitution. The Act mandated all schools to have separate toilets for boys and girls and adequate safe drinking water facilities. Reinforcing this mandate, the Supreme Court in 2011 directed the Union and State governments to provide this infrastructure in all schools by start of academic year in 2012. However, gaps remain. Provisions for children with special needs also lags. The Ministry the Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan in 2014 to ensure full coverage by 2015.

The SV Campaign is a well-conceived programme with a comprehensive approach to improving WASH in schools. It includes ensuring drinking water, hand washing, toilet and soap facilities in the school compound for use by children and teachers. It also includes hygiene activities for a clean physical and social environment to prevent WASH-related diseases. It enhances the capacity of teachers, community members, school management committees and education administrators to improve conditions. It also seeks to improve the curriculum and teaching methods while promoting hygiene practices and community ownership of WASH in schools.

On 14th August 2015, the Government of India declared 100% sanitation coverage in all schools of India. Even though significant progress has been made, experiences from the field suggest that the construction of toilets alone is insufficient to end open defecation and promote hygiene behaviour in educational institutions.

Functionality
An important component of toilet use is functionality. Assessments have found that toilets may exist but are not always functional, precluding their actual use by students. To be functional, the student-toilet ratio must be maintained and water, ventilation and sufficient lighting should be present in toilets, with adequate safety and privacy measures (e.g., latches) on doors.

Operations and maintenance (O&M) is critical. This goes includes all managerial aspects necessary to run WASH infrastructure such as selecting the personnel for WASH committees (school management committees and student committees), purchase and management of spare parts and hygiene material, financial management, management of assets and the planning of extensions. O&M is often poor, with insufficient funds and lack of oversight. The SV Mission articulates O&M activities to be undertaken in schools. These can be actualized through efforts that 1) Build institutional capacity for O&M, 2) Develop plans to operationalize O&M functions (e.g., hiring cleaners, purchase of cleaning materials, developing cleaning schedule), 3) monitor O&M, and lastly 4) Offer adequate financing for O&M activities.

The availability of water, particularly safe drinking water, remains a concern in many schools. Moving forward, efforts must centre on 1) ensuring the daily provision of child-friendly, sustainable safe drinking water, through the year, and especially during summer months where water shortage is an issue; 2) Safe handling and storage of water, and 3) Availability of water for use in toilets.

Hygiene
Hand washing at critical times (after toilet use and before eating) is critical. While the SV Mission has clear-cut recommendations. it has received less attention than toilet construction. If students are to benefit from using a toilet, they must have access to functional hand washing facilities with soap and water in or near the school toilets, and in or near the eating area (where the mid-day meal is typically served). Additionally, sufficient number of hand washing stations are required to meet the needs of the school population.

While the establishment of physical infrastructure is essential to promote sanitation, it is not sufficient. Hygiene education is critical in nudging students and teachers towards using infrastructure. Schools must now focus on conducting regular training for teachers on hygiene, sanitation, and menstrual hygiene. Key hygiene messages include latrine use for urination and defecation, hand washing at critical times and appropriate menstrual hygiene management.

Institutions
School management committees (SMC) are existing institutional mechanisms that can ensure that school are WASH secure. They can be supported by capacity building, setting up student cabinets and parent teacher associations. They can be assigned responsibilities to monitor WASH infrastructure and hygiene education activities.

The SV Mission is an ideal opportunity to comprehensively address and improve WASH in Schools. With progress already made in terms of toilet construction, the time is ripe to focus attention on other WASH aspects to engender a healthy learning environment in schools.

I am seeking your comments on how shifting School WASH to the Ministry has affected the situation on the ground. Please share examples from the field.

Regards

Arundati Muralidharan
You need to login to reply
  • Ashok
  • Ashok's Avatar
  • Posts: 10
  • Likes received: 3

Re: Reply: Topic 2 - How has shifting responsibility to the Ministry of Human Resource Development affected School WASH

Madam,

It was good to read the post. Only point which I would like to raise is ?If the toilets in schools have been made as per designs and specifications given in the booklet Swachcha Vidyalay, Then I have a string feeling that they will ask for maintenance very soon, over and above the O&M generally provided for. The leach pit provided therein is grossly inadequate for the number of uses it is said to be designed for. Secondly, there is only one leach pit. Once it gets full, we have either to construct a second leach pit immediately or empty this one with raw sludge, not a happy situation.?

Ashok Jain Ph D

Sent from Mail for Windows 10
You need to login to reply
  • nityajacob
  • nityajacob's Avatar
  • Water Policy Analyst and Author; Moderator of the ISC-SuSanA India Chapter
  • Posts: 118
  • Karma: 2
  • Likes received: 50

Re: Topic 2 - How has shifting responsibility to the Ministry of Human Resource Development affected School WASH (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Hi Arundati,

The purpose of shifting the onus for School WASH to the MHRD wasto fix responsibility. Construction and maintenance of school toilets fell between the two stools of education and sanitation, each run by different departments. They seldom spoke to each other. Unfortunately, even as coverage has been reported to be 100%, a dubious claim, maintenance is extremely poor. ASER reports and even DISE data show functionality is a way below par. Visits to schools around India bear this out as they are littered with broken toilets. I went to a school in Chattisgarh some time ago that had a beautiful campus with pucca classrooms, a ramp for disabled children and a nice mid-day meal shed. Tucked in a corner were four toilet blocks. The oldest was about 15 years old and completely decrepit. The others were newer but their decrepitude was in direct proportion to their age. Even the newest made about a year before I went there was locked and its walls were cracked. The children claimed they urinated or defecated in the pond behind the school building. Magnify this a few hundred times and you have the picture of the state, even several states.

While it is now easier to fix responsibility, I don't think the education machinery has stepped up to the plate, so to speak. Funds for school maintenance are laughable. Teachers balk at cleaning toilets, students do not clean them after an uproar several years ago that those from the lower castes were being forced to do so. Schools say maintenance funds are too little to employ sweepers, and they are partly right. The headmasters, teachers and others simply use nearby toilets or go home if they must. This is sidestepping the problem.

All the institutions for school management seem to be engaged with everything but sanitation. SMCs and the like prefer to spend the meagre funds on dire necessities, not toilets or hand washing. The local panchayats I have met in several states shrug off their responsibility for keeping toilets clean. On the ground, therefore, I do not see anything has changed.

One could argue for a sanitation fund for schools but that begs the question - who will ensure it is used. SMCs and panchayats need to engage with sanitation and hygiene. Stricter and clearer instructions would help. Some oversight by education officers is necessary to improve sanitation in addition to ensuring teacher attendance and the adequacy of physical infrastructure.

Regards
Nitya
You need to login to reply
  • sunetralala
  • sunetralala's Avatar
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 1
  • Likes received: 2

Re: Topic 2 - How has shifting responsibility to the Ministry of Human Resource Development affected School WASH (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

From my experience even though MHRD has taken charge of School WASH, institutions at the grassroots for school management remain the same. The Swachh Vidyalaya mission brought out standards and an evaluation procedure based on self-reporting. However, weak management combined with a lack of funds earmarked for sanitation have always hampered operation and maintenance of toilets, hand washing facilities and hygiene education in schools.

If panchayats, at least in states where they are suitably empowered, are given responsibility for managing School WASH, especially in primary schools, I feel things may improve. Primary schools are the worst-affected as they are small, have very little money and are under-staffed. Middle and high schools are better off since they get more annual funds, though they also have problems in O&M.

I feel the village water and sanitation committees or self-help groups can manage the toilets. Alternately, the agency providing mid-day meals can be tasked to do so.

Regards
Sunetra Lala
SNV Netherlands Development Organization, Cambodia
You need to login to reply
  • kamrun
  • kamrun's Avatar
  • Posts: 8
  • Likes received: 1

Re: Topic 2 - How has shifting responsibility to the Ministry of Human Resource Development affected School WASH (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Sunetralala,

You are absolutely, right though, Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya (SBSV) a nation mission have been initiated but lot more is required to be taken on right stride. There are lot of gaps between School Management Committee (SMC) and teachers, in turn proper accountability in all front is yet to come up.
Probably 3 major factor are there like.

1. Political will:- Being emerged.
2. Technocrat will:- Yet to come up, it is slow and sluggish
3. Community will:- That requires more and more practices.

Though MHRD has initiated this, hope it is good beginning but not addressing as yet.

with Regards
M S Khan
The following user(s) like this post: joshiss
You need to login to reply
  • joshiss
  • joshiss's Avatar
  • Posts: 1
  • Likes received: 0

Re: Topic 2 - How has shifting responsibility to the Ministry of Human Resource Development affected School WASH (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

For any initiative to be successful it has to become viable. Every initiative I have taken for doing something better technically has hit a roadblock of decision makers and funds. Free of cost trials are appreciated but when it comes to implementation it goes in to cold storage. The people change authorities change and so on.
The scenario is very dynamic. Sanitation initiatives succeed in corporate world or private sector because it has become a need due to Green building certification, pollution norms, awareness etc.
Hope some support can be created to bring this in the said subject also.
You need to login to reply
  • kiranfxb
  • kiranfxb's Avatar
  • Posts: 2
  • Likes received: 0

Re: Topic 2 - How has shifting responsibility to the Ministry of Human Resource Development affected School WASH (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Dear Arundati,

Yes, the number of schools with toilets has gone up sharply in the last 2 years, but accessibility to children has not improved proportionately. In most schools 2 toilets were constructed that is 1 for male and 1 for female irrespective of number of children in the school and announced 100% coverage. In many cases toilet are mostly locked and only used by the teachers. The teachers also have fair argument that there is no monitory provision to clean them. In few schools there are enough toilets, but no urinals, all children come out at once during break time, and urinate open as there is no specific provision.

When I interacted with school HMs, I understood there is no improvement in specific allotment of funds for cleaning purposes after or before announcement of 100% coverage, I request experts in this panel to educate me if there is any special provision for O& M funds under SV.

Secondly, there is no specific monitoring mechanism of O & M and usage of toilets, I suggest there should be at least a temporary system in SSA with an objective to monitor the usage of toilets and attend the issues promptly to ensure 100% usage of toilets.

Third, but important, in south States children attending Govt. schools is very low, and even poor people in urban areas are opting to send their children to private schools mainly due to distance and poor impression on Govt. offered education. But, these private schools do not even have proper class rooms and today they are in hundreds in any major town. Who is monitoring these schools.

Thanks & regards,
Kiran
You need to login to reply
  • sujoymojumdar
  • sujoymojumdar's Avatar
  • Posts: 4
  • Likes received: 3

Re: Topic 2 - How has shifting responsibility to the Ministry of Human Resource Development affected School WASH (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Dear Arundati,

In late 2014, when the Swachh Bharat Mission programme was being developed, for launch on 2nd Oct 2014, the Ministry of Drinking water and Sanitation, had to take a call on what to do with 2 components of the earlier rural sanitation program, Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) - i.e. School and Anganwadi sanitation - or more correctly providing funds for the construction of toilets in schools and anganwadis.

Under the NBA, Rs. 35000/- was being provided for school toilets an Rs 8000/- for an anganwadi toilet, bothe the amounts were never adequate for building a reasonable structure and the numbers of units of both that were budgeted for were very few each year. The construction used to be done mainly by the Rural Engineering department (RES) or in some states the PHEDs. Neither was the School education department involved in construction and surely not in the O&M.

It was clear to all in the Ministry, that with the launch of the SBM, there will be a huge push towards constructing IHHLs , with the increased incentive of 12000/- per eligible households, and that institutional sanitation will be even more neglected. Also the involvement of the host agency, be it school or anganwadi was desperately needed to ensure usage for the facilities and their upkeep.

The decision to transfer responsibility to the respective Ministries MHRD(SSA) for schools and MWCD for Anganwadis was taken in this light. After initial hesitance , both Ministries agreed to take up the responsibility.

While the school case has been what I would consider a success - with focus on School WASH significantly raised - viz. SBSV (Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya) and SVP (Swachh Vidyalaya puraskar). There is now focus and discussion on O&M. . While i agree that there are issues and innovations are needed especially for resources, technology, service providers etc. - at least the issue are being discussed and solutions sought - something that never happened before and would not have happened if it had remained in the MDWS

For Anganwadis, i agree the story is not satisfactory. The Concerned agencies have yet to take up the issue in the due earnest. However there is now increasing focus on malnutrition happening - and that i hope will bring about change here too.
You need to login to reply
  • RaVikas
  • RaVikas's Avatar
  • Posts: 4
  • Likes received: 0

Re: Topic 2 - How has shifting responsibility to the Ministry of Human Resource Development affected School WASH (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Good morning to all determined and passionate members of this forum,

Triad of issues need to be addressed to have a basic need fulfilled.

Government/s must stop providing numbers of toilets built but start provide toilets usable on weekly basis in schools.
This makes toilets functional units and not sample structures akin to cinema sets which are being built today.
The funds provided for toilets is a joke, so let us not discuss that here.

To over come this
Do not build toilets but manufacture toilets which are ready 2 be installed and functional within 1 hour.
When manufactured on large scale two things get streamlined
1. quality of the unit
2. Tied to functionality the units must deliver which is the responsibility of the manufacturer for any unit sold today comes with a minimum warranty period

Have an integrated green revenue stream sewn into fecal sludge management
All schools toilets must provide multiple revenue generation possibility making regular O& M sustainable & affordable (for more details contact me)

Thank you

ravisenji
You need to login to reply
  • nityajacob
  • nityajacob's Avatar
  • Water Policy Analyst and Author; Moderator of the ISC-SuSanA India Chapter
  • Posts: 118
  • Karma: 2
  • Likes received: 50

Re: Topic 2 - How has shifting responsibility to the Ministry of Human Resource Development affected School WASH (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Dear members,

I am sharing a story from the Hindi Water Portal on school WASH from Uttarakhand. This shows how, even though districts have become ODF and all schools (ostensibly) have toilets, huge gaps remain. These place hundreds of students at risk across the country, every day.

Uttarkashi district in Uttarakhand was recently declared ODF. A correspondent for the portal visited the Government Intermediate College in Gewla Brahmakal, with 422 students. About 200 are girls. All use the outdoors to relieve themselves. The college has four toilets, the correspondent found, which are all locked. This is not an interior village but is located on the main road to Yamnotri and Gangotri. When they go out to relive themselves, they are marked absent for the full period.

This demonstrates the fallacy of counting numbers. Four toilets, that are locked, are as good as not having toilets. In addition to presence, functionality and usability, the simple indicator of access must be added to the way we look at sanitation.

You can read the full story here .

Regards
Nitya
You need to login to reply
  • kiranfxb
  • kiranfxb's Avatar
  • Posts: 2
  • Likes received: 0

Re: Topic 2 - How has shifting responsibility to the Ministry of Human Resource Development affected School WASH (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Dear Revisenji,

I am Kiran kumar from NGO called FXB India Suraksha. Can you please explain more on multiple revenue generation model you are talking about?

regards,
Kiran
You need to login to reply
  • RaVikas
  • RaVikas's Avatar
  • Posts: 4
  • Likes received: 0

Re: Topic 2 - How has shifting responsibility to the Ministry of Human Resource Development affected School WASH (India Chapter Thematic Discussion)

Dear Kiran,
good morning,
Thank you for the interest evinced,
Not sure if it will be appropriate to discuss this here.
Kindly connect direct to my email id.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Thank you
ravisenji
You need to login to reply
Share this thread:
Recently active users. Who else has been active?
Time to create page: 1.004 seconds