Yogi Adityanath government’s infrastructure policies are increasing primary school enrollment and attendance | Tech US News

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Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government’s initiative to build additional toilets for girls and develop other infrastructure in primary schools has resulted in a huge increase in student enrollment and attendance, says a state government report. Compared to 61 percent toilets for girls in primary schools across the country in November 2019, it has increased to 97 percent this November, the report said.

Enrollment and attendance in schools has increased to 1.91 million in 2022-23 from 1.52 million in 2016-17 due to the acceleration of infrastructure, including setting up of more hand-washing units, it said. Reports from the districts also highlighted problems with their maintenance, with students and local residents in many schools complaining that the toilets were either locked or not cleaned daily. The state government launched “Operation Vidyalaya Kayakalp” in June 2018-19 to further strengthen 19 infrastructure facilities in 1.33 lakh primary schools. These included the construction of boys and girls toilets along with urinals for children with special needs, safe drinking water, more hand washing units, functional electrical connection, classroom furniture and tiling and a boundary wall among others.

Vijay Kiran Anand, director general of school education, told PTI that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has a monthly meeting to review the progress of Operation Kayakalp with all divisional commissioners and district magistrates. Control rooms have been set up at the state, district and block levels to monitor progress and facilitate work and monthly IVRS (Interactive Voice Response System) calls are being made from the state to all school principals for feedback and to know the challenges, he said. A three-level comprehensive monitoring mechanism through Prerna dashboards, from state to block level, has also been developed to ensure time-bound completion and saturation of child-friendly essential infrastructure in schools, Anand added. He said the Union Education Ministry had selected Operation Kayakalp under the ‘best practice’ category and presented it to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June.

A report from Ballia says that 2,249 schools are functioning under the Board of Basic Education. District coordinator (construction) Satyendra Rai said every school has at least one toilet for girl students, while some others with more girl students have more than one toilet. Jyoti, a student of Bilthar Road Government School, said there are three toilets in a row for boys and girls. But they have a common entrance door, which causes inconvenience to female students, she said. Tanya and Anuradha from the same school said that the toilets are rarely cleaned. Sushil Yadav, headmaster of a government school in Kakraso village, said there are 514 students in the school, which has four toilets.

The department has not provided staff for safai (cleanliness). So they depend on the gram panchayat staff to clean them, he added. A report from Jhansi says that most schools have separate toilets for girls. Primary Education Officer Neelam Yadav said the village headman or headmasters take care of daily cleaning of the toilets. She said the toilet helped more girl students visit schools. A Class 5 student in Dikholi said she and her friends did not have to run back home to relieve themselves after the toilet was built.

The Shahjahanpur report says there are 2,720 government schools and last year new toilets and urinals were built in 2,704 of them. District Basic Education Officer Surendra Singh said that toilets are being cleaned by panchayat safai karamcharis. He said toilets could not be constructed in some schools due to lack of land. Many parents in Bhai Jalalabad Bada blocks complained that the toilets in schools are locked most of the time, forcing students to defecate in nearby fields. In Baghpat, primary education officer Kirti said schools in the district already have separate toilets for boys and girls. Baghpat Government School Principal Ashutosh Mishra said the toilets are cleaned every day.

The Meerut report said school enrollment increased due to the construction of additional toilets for girls. District Basic Education Officer Harendra Sharma said there are 1,072 government schools, of which 32 do not have rented accommodation. He said schools in government buildings have separate toilets for boys and girls, while some schools operating on rented premises have only one toilet. He said that panchayats take care of their daily cleaning.

Hemlata, headmistress of a government school in Abdulpur block, said that due to separate toilets, girls attended more daily than boys. The parents of some of the school’s students complained that the toilets were not cleaned daily.

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