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Sanitation and hygiene top school curriculum
Schools failing to maintain basic sanitation and hygiene levels will be hit by sanctions, Navi Mumbai's civic body's education department has warned. Harunn Ataar, who was recently appointed Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation's education officer, has decided that along with teaching facilities and curriculum, washrooms and watercoolers will also be given top priority.
"Access to clean and well-maintained toilets is a basic requirement within educational institutions," he said. "I have observed that this aspect often gets neglected in private schools, where students refrain from going to washroom as it is not cleaned regularly."
The other hygiene issue concerns the purification system for drinking water, according to the report in The Times of India. "There should be a water purification plant in schools and that should be maintained as well, so students get clean, potable water," said Mr Ataar, warning that: "If the general hygiene is not maintained, the schools will be issued notices."
Schools have welcomed the initiative. Harivansh Singh, chairman, Sainath High School, Vashi, says: "We spend Rs10 lakh on sanitation and hygiene. The school's washrooms are cleaned with disinfectant three times a day. NMMC officials are always welcome to do any kind of checking. We welcome this move in the larger interest of students."
NMMC has been cracking down on lax school facilities for some time. Earlier this month, a contractor who was tasked with maintaining general hygiene in 109 civic schools was fined Rs15,250 after it was found that several of his workers were absent over a number of days. The missing workers had their pay docked too.
According to The Times of India, the yardstick used by civic officials to ascertain cleanliness in private schools is the same applied to the general schools. Heavy penalties are levied in cases where standards are not maintained.
For the 46 school buildings there are 249 workers employed under contract. Daily inspections are conducted by individual headmasters and if cleanliness is not up to scratch, a report is filed.
The budget allocated for the sanitation for 2013-14 was approximately 43 lakhs and the work is put out to tender. There are two contractors entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining hygiene in civic schools and the slightest mistake will attract a heavy penalty. So if for instance an employee fails to report for work, the contractor is fined a sum of Rs 250. If the required supplies aren't provided, then the penalty is 5% of the bill generated by the school and if the headmaster reports that the cleanliness is not up to standard, the contractor is fined Rs 1000.
24th October 2013