By Trupti Rane:
On this children’s day, children from CRY (Child Rights and You) intervention areas make a wish list for their school – in turn highlighting the infrastructure gaps ailing our education system.
Quality infrastructure and quality workforce have a huge impact on the learning outcomes and consequently, the retention of children in schools. The Right to Free and Compulsory Education 2009, makes it mandatory to have a set of infrastructural arrangements in schools. However, six years post its implementation, these requirements have still not been met. Providing basic infrastructure like benches, safe drinking water, functional toilets and electricity continues to be a challenge. We have still not been able to address the issue of huge number of teacher vacancies. Education is not simply a preparation for the future but an investment on our children in the present. It is therefore the duty of the government to not only plug all the gaps in the system but to also ensure that every child is able to exercise their fundamental right to free and quality education, thereby upholding the true spirit of the RTE Act.
A quick look at the data reflects on the dire situation of school infrastructure in India:
Data 1 – Source: Elementary Education in India: Towards UEE-Flash Statistics, NUEPA & GoI, 2005-06 to 2015-16
• 11% of the schools in our country do not have toilets. More than 2 lakh schools do not have toilets for girls. In 34% of the schools, the toilets are either in unusable or extremely unstable conditions.
• 49% of the schools don’t have handwash facilities near the toilets.
• Around 3.2% of the schools don’t have access to safe drinking water. And almost 12% have their drinking water source (tap/hand pump) outside the school premises
• Only 24% of the schools have electricity and computer facilities
• Non availability of head teachers was reported at 50% schools with enrollement of more than 100 and 150 children in primary and upper primary schools respectively
Data 2 – DISE Elementary flash 2014-15
• 35% of schools don’t have boundary walls.
• 17% of schools do not have a library.
• 8% of schools are still single teacher schools.
• 41% of schools do not have electricity.
• 75% of schools do not have computers, only about 56% schools have functional computers.
• 40% of schools do not have playgrounds.
• 3% of schools still do not provide mid-day meals.
• 23% of schools do not have kitchen sheds.
Data 3 – MHRD 2014
• There is a shortage of 9.4 lakh teachers in government schools.
• Among the existing teachers in government schools, about 20 per cent are untrained and the proportion of trained qualified teachers has been almost stagnant for the last five years.
Photo Credit: Sandeep Kumar, CRY Intern