Over 1,400 schools in Mumbai sans water, toilets

Mumbai, March 13, 2014: The Right to Education (RTE) Act came into effect across the country in 2010, but its proper implementation is still a distant reality in the state. Forget quality education, schools in Maharashtra are struggling to provide even basic facilities such as drinking water and separate toilets for girls which are among the 10 basic parameters mandatory under the RTE Act. 

More than 1,400 schools across the state don’t have drinking water facilities and there are no toilets in 2,100 institutions, according to the latest provisional statistics of the District Information System for Education — the mandatory annual survey of schools conducted by Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), a division of the school education ministry. Giving insights into the pathetic condition of schools in the state, the statistics reveal that 17,800 lack playgrounds while 24,000 don’t even have boundary walls. 

There are 1,03,119 schools across Maharashtra, including private and government ones. Of these, more than 833 operate from rented buildings. 

“The information was collected up to September 2013. The final report and the analysis will be submitted to the ministry by March-end,” said an SSA official. 

Compared to 2012-13, schools in Maharashtra have improved a lot in 2013-14 in terms of infrastructure, the provisional data shows. However, many schools still fail on basic parameters of the RTE Act such as having a ramp for disabled children, one classroom for one class, electricity, library, room for the headmistress and kitchen shed. 

The situation is abysmal in all districts, including Mumbai, where 257 schools lack playgrounds, seven don’t have a building and 10 lack toilets. The situation in the home turfs of chief minister Prithviraj Chavan (Satara) and school education minister Rajendra Darda (Aurangabad) is not worth boasting about either. There are 3,830 schools in Satara district. Of these, 31 don’t have water facilities, 19 lack toilets and 637 don’t have playgrounds. In Aurangabad, of the 3,794 schools, 18 don’t have buildings, 54 lack water facilities while 136 don’t have playgrounds. Half-a-dozen schools don’t have toilets. While Darda remained unavailable for comment, Mahavir Mane, director of primary education, did not respond to calls.

“The government’s allocation for education is too low compared to other countries which is the reason for such a poor show. The Navodaya Vidyalaya is the best example of what schools can do, if the government wishes,” educationist Milind Wagh told dna. He said the government needs to do more than just sloganeering. 

The RTE Act was introduced by the Union government in 2010 to ensure free and compulsory education for every child in India in the 6-14 age group. It also mandated basic parameters which schools had to follow. While many states implemented the Act immediately, the Maharashtra government woke up only in 2012-13, sans willingness. The department showed some interest only in 2013-14 because of the Centre’s deadline. (Source: Kanchan Srivastava, DNA - Mumbai)

13-03-2014 | Posted by Admin