No toilets in half of State's schools

Girls worst victims, have to share toilets with boys in many schools

These shocking revelations are among the findings of a nation-wide survey on the condition of schools and schoolchildren conducted by an NGO ‘Pratham’.

Although the survey ‘Assessment Survey Evaluation Research 2009’ (ASER 2009) indicates a marginal improvement for Karnataka in a number of parameters, the State seems to have left this most primordial of needs to nature’s devices. The survey was conducted in October - November 2009 in 133 primary schools and 623 middle and high schools across both government and private schools in all 27 educational districts of the State.

The findings of the survey state that 51.9 per cent of primary schools in the State do not have usable toilets and a further 11.5 per cent do not even have the infrastructure. This marks a steep decline from a ASER 2007 survey, which stated that only a little over 10 per cent of the primary schools had unusable toilets.

Similarly, 48.7 percent of the middle and high schools in Karnataka do not have usable toilets with about 5.5 per cent of them not even having the infrastructure. Toilet facilities in high schools too have seen a sharp decline as ASER 2007 had put the number at around 20 percent.

But perhaps a more damning indictment of the infrastructure at schools in the State is the stark statistic that says that 42 percent of primary schools and 25 percent of middle and high schools have no separate toilets for girls.

In fact, the survey points out that only 35 per cent of the girls’ toilets are usable.

Multi-grade classes

Another telling finding is the extraordinarily high number of primary school students (second standard in particular) attending multi-grade classes i.e. sitting in the same classroom as students studying in higher classes.

However, the State has shown a marginal improvement in areas including teacher attendance, average enrollment of children, reading ability, letter recognition and even learning levels both in primary and middle schools. Significantly, the findings show a convergence between the learning levels among children at private and government schools (both primary and middle schools). Particularly, the capacity of class five children to do arithmetic is almost the same in both private and government schools of the State.

Further, Karnataka and Kerala are the only States to show a consistent decline in the number of government children attending private tuitions while the statistic for the rest of the country show a marked increase in the incidence of children attending additional tuition.

-51.9 pc of primary schools in the state do not have usable toilets
- 48.7 pc of the middle and high schools do not have usable toilets
- 42 pc of primary schools in the state have no separate toilets for girls
- 25 pc of middle and high schools in the state have no separate toilets for girls

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