11 percent of primary schools in the country do not have clean water. These schools do not have any suitable tube wells or water sources. 9 percent of schools do not have usable toilets. These facts have emerged in a report of the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education.
The report was presented in the meeting of the parliamentary standing committee related to the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education on Wednesday. It has given the information of 54 thousand 511 schools in 54 districts of the country. Currently there are 65 thousand 566 primary schools in the country. According to related sources, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education asked for information about the safe sanitation system in all primary schools of the country. In the meeting yesterday, the ministry said that the information of 54 thousand 511 primary schools in 54 districts has been received. The information of the remaining 10 districts is not yet available.
According to the report of the ministry, 48 thousand 474 or 88.93 percent of primary schools have tube wells or water sources suitable for use. And 6 thousand 37 or 11.07 percent of primary schools do not have a suitable tube well or water source.
Nazarpur Government Primary School of Dharmapasha Upazila of Sunamganj has no suitable tube well or water source. The headteacher of this school, Abdul Momen, told Prothom Alo that there is a tubewell in their school. Due to the closure of the school for a long time due to Corona, it was destroyed because it was not used. Now the teachers and students are suffering from drinking water and toilet water. Water has to be brought from far away.
According to the report given by the Ministry, 4 thousand 951 or 9.08 percent of primary schools in 54 districts of the country do not have any suitable wash blocks and toilets. 19 thousand 816 or 36.35 percent of schools have usable wash blocks. There are 39 thousand 968 or 73.72 percent of primary schools with usable toilets.
According to the report, 54 thousand 27 primary schools have facilities for hand washing with soap or hand sanitizer. In about 96 percent of schools, toilet wash blocks are regularly cleaned with Harpic or Phenyl.
Directorate General of Primary Education (Additional Duties) Md. Muhibur Rahman told Prothom Alo that work is underway to ensure sanitation facilities in all primary schools of the country. Data for 10 districts is missing from the report. If it is added, the number and percentage of schools with water and sanitation facilities will increase. The facility will be ensured in all schools by next year.
A report by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) last June said that one in five schools (19 percent) in Bangladesh lack safe drinking water. It affects 85 lakh students. 44 percent of schools lack health facilities including hand washing facilities with water and soap. Which is affecting more than 1 crore 90 lakh students.
UNICEF and WHO reports also say that 7 percent of schools in Bangladesh do not have any ‘wash’ facilities. That means more than 3 million children go to schools without access to safe drinking water, sanitary latrines and handwashing facilities.
Former caretaker government advisor Rasheda K Chaudhuri told Prothom Alo that Bangladesh was in a good position with clean water and sanitation. Some facilities may have been damaged due to being closed for a long time during the Corona period. It is of some concern that 11 percent of schools do not have clean water and 9 percent of schools do not have usable toilets. In terms of numbers it is quite large. Lack of these facilities discourages students, especially fourth and fifth graders, from going to school. So the matter should be given importance. Along with improving the quality of education, infrastructure development needs to go on.