Patna: A majority of primary and middle schools of Bihar government have discoloured chalkboards, no proper boundary walls, and an acute shortage of functional toilets as per inspection reports of District Magistrates (DMs) submitted to the Education department.
During the month-long (July) inspection of schools by the district magistrates, the Education Department found that the majority of the primary and middle schools do not meet the basic requirements expected in an educational institution. The DMs in their inspection reports had mentioned discoloured chalkboards, lack of proper boundary walls, and shortage of functional toilets in government schools.
Additionally, Chief Secretary (ACS), Education Department, K K Pathak in a missive dated August 16 to district magistrates has asked the latter to ensure fresh quote of black paint on all discoloured chalkboards of schools at the earliest and also maintenance of non-functional toilets under the cleanliness head of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme.
DMs To Make A 'Monitoring System'
The ACS has also asked DMs to ensure the construction of boundary walls of schools (that don't have one) as early as possible. He has also suggested steps for procuring the necessary funds for the purpose of these mandatory works. Enthused by the outcome of regular inspection of government schools by the DMs in the state, the department recently requested all DMs to make the 'monitoring system' of schools in their respective areas a regular exercise now.
Pathak in his latest letter further said that even though an adequate number of toilets have been constructed in schools, only a few of them are functional. "Those toilets which are functional are not cleaned. There are several schools which have six to eight units of toilets but only one unit is functional..there are more than 300 students in such schools," he said, adding the department has already empanelled some private agencies at the central level for maintaining cleanliness in school campus," the ACS said.
"These agencies would make available the services of sweeper and cleaning materials for cleaning the toilets and also cleaning the classrooms and furniture regularly. Required funds for this arrangement may be procured from the mining cess received by the districts from the state Mines and Geology department for education.
Allocation Of Funds
Last year, different districts had got a sum of Rs 126 crore as cess, of which Rs 77 crore is still lying unutilised. This amount can be utilised in ensuring cleanliness of toilets. The cleanliness funds under the MNREGA should also be studied carefully for the purpose," Pathak said.
He also requested the DMs of 13 aspirational districts, including Araria, Aurangabad, Banka, Begusarai, Gaya, Jamui, Katihar, Khagaria, Muzaffarpur, Nawada, Purnia, Sheikhpura, and Sitamarhi, to consider whether the daily cleaning of toilets can be arranged from their funds.
Following that, he asked the DMs to calculate the amount of funds likely to be raised from different sources by August 31 so that the department may sanction the remaining amount for ensuring proper cleanliness of schools and their toilets.