Lid off dirty secret in posh schools

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By A.S.R.P. MUKESH
  • Published 24.09.12
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Enough stink has been raised about government schools that don’t have toilets or dirty ones at best. Now, a recent national survey reveals that even some posh schools for PLU (people like us) in Jharkhand that charge four-figure fees don’t have sanitation facilities to boast of.

Seven Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) affiliated schools in Jharkhand participated in an online test conducted by National School Sanitation Initiative, a joint initiative of Union human resource development and CBSE. All fared badly, even the sole Jamshedpur school that was the best of the lot.

The schools are Vidya Bharati Chinmaya Vidyalaya in Jamshedpur, Army Public School and Delhi Public School in Ranchi, Aditya Birla Public School, Rehla (Garhwa), DAV Public school Dugda (Bokaro) as well as Mount Litera Zee School and St Xavier’s School in Hazaribagh. Best performer Vidya Bharati Chinmaya Vidyalaya also earned only an “average” remark.

A senior CBSE official from New Delhi, who was not willing to come on record, told The Telegraph that the online sanitation test for schools began six months ago with an aim to evaluate Indian schools on hygiene and sanitation across 35 to 40 parameters.

“Jharkhand schools performed miserably. Six schools were given a red rating. That means that the schools scored very poorly in aspects such as cleanliness of toilets, washroom and basin arrangements, clean water facilities, as well as in activities and awareness camps held by schools,” he said.

A yellow rating was deemed average.

“According to rating norms, schools with 90 per cent and above scores are put in the green category, which means they have best practices. Schools with 75-90 per cent get a blue rating, which means very good. Black is between 60-75 per cent, which means good but needs improvement. Yellow equals to 45-60 per cent, which means average and must improve. Red is the worst,” he said.

The online assessment mode saw every participating school registering itself and taking the test over a period of time, uploading specific data on the parameters based on which ratings were given.

The CBSE official added that physical verification of online findings would be their next step.

The shocking results indict some of the state’s best known schools, including Delhi Public School, Ranchi, which charges upward of Rs 1,150 per month from students. Parents pay Rs 1,450 per child in Plus Two, but that, as is apparent, can’t guarantee clean toilets.

But when The Telegraph contacted principal J. Mohanty, he said he was unaware of it. “It is news to me that our school is in the red category. To the best of my knowledge, we haven’t participated in the test so far. I will check with my officials and the CBSE office. Only after that I can comment on our score,” he said.

Vidya Bharati Chinmaya Vidyalaya principal Vipin Sharma said they would do the survey’s bidding and try to improve.

“There is always scope for improvement and we will do better next time,” she said. On being asked about how credible the online assessment was compared to physical inspection, Sharma said there was no scope for faking details and facts.

“Schools have the moral responsibility to speak the truth. Moreover, you never know when CBSE swoops down on campus for a surprise inspection. It’s better to accept what you have and what you don’t and try to improve,”she confessed.

She has a point as CBSE insists on continuous evaluation. “It is mandatory for each and every CBSE school to take this test. Schools will have to register after September 30 by paying a fee of Rs 750 for it,” said the CBSE official.

Does your child’s school have clean washrooms?

Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com