Roots and Wings: Reinforcing Sanitation and Hygiene Education in Schools
Publisher: Allied Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi
Sanitation and hygiene education in our country have, unfortunately, remained the most neglected areas despite the country making rapid progress in socio-economic field. Anecdotal evidence gathered through field visits substantially point out to the fact that the root cause of high incidence of morbidity and malnutrition related with children, females and other people mostly belonging to the lower strata of the society has largely been due to their persuance of unsanitary practices and rampant use of contaminated water. What has been quite alarming is that the issue of sanitation and hygiene education is never discussed either in the public or private domain even in the most civilised, educated and modern households let alone shared with the children. The poor performance of development indicators in the developing states could also be attributed to the prevalence of this age old traditional practice that not only deprives the children, particularly the girl child, of the basic right to education but also of many other tangible benefits of development.
Taking cognisance of the problem and concern over the alarming situation in education sector, UNICEF started a programme on school sanitation and hygiene education in ten districts of Uttar Pradesh in some five hundred schools in 2008. The ensuing study analyses the performance of the programme and finds that UNICEF’s intervention has succeeded in many core areas like in the formation of child cabinet in schools, appointment of nodal teachers by the sample schools, reinforcement of hygiene education etc. However, it has also met with disappointment in other areas as well particularly in activities related with sanitation and some outreach programmes. It therefore, feels that the programme needs to be implemented more intensively and rigoursely, on a sustained basis, to achieve lasting success.