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CRY survey suggests Gujarat government "manipulated" data on toilets, drinking water in primary schools

By Our Representative
Contradicting the Gujarat government’s loud claims, a recent survey, sponsored by high-profile NGO working on child rights, Child Rights and You (CRY), in 249 schools has shown that while 97 per cent primary schools do have toilets, as many as 204 (or nearly 82 per cent) of them are used by both boys and girls, suggesting utter lack of girls’ toilets at the primary level. In fact, if the survey results are to be believed, only four out of 249 schools surveyed have separate functioning toilets for girls, and in most cases girls and boys must use the same toilets.
Worse, the survey suggests that as many as 25 toilets (10 per cent) are not in working condition, which means the children of these schools – boys and girls – are forced to go in the open. By “not in working condition”, the surveyors mean these schools do not have privacy and availability of water. As many as 64 schools surveyed are from Central Gujarat, 90 schools are from Saurashtra, 10 from Kutch, 40 from North Gujarat and 36 from South Gujarat. The survey report was compiled in February 2014.
Carried out across India for the purpose of ascertaining the implementation of the right to education (RTE) Act, the survey -- which is in its draft form right now -- further finds that 32 (13 per cent) of 249 schools do not have hand washing facility, and a whopping 132 (53 per cent) schools did not have soap for washing hands. In sharp contrast, the Gujarat government data, handed over to the Government of India’s District Information System for Education (DISE) suggest that 95.61 per cent schools have separate girls’ toilets and 50.25 per cent have hand wash facility.
The CRY survey further finds that 33 (13 per cent) out of 249 schools do not have safe drinking water available in their schools, eight schools do not have any facility of serving midday meal, which is compulsory, 13 schools do not have electricity supply, 139 schools do not have a separate library facility, nearly 30 per cent schools do not have enough class rooms for different standards, and so on. DISE data, on the other hand, suggest that 99.97 per cent of schools have drinking water facility, 96.06 per cent schools provide midday meal, and 99.2 per cent schools have electricity in schools.
Carried out by Buniyadi Adhikar Andolan Gujarat (BAAG) and its affiliates for CRY, a senior activist with the Dalit Hakk Rakshak Manch (DHRM) analyzing state of education in Gujarat for the last several years has said, the data suggest Gujarat government has been “manipulating” figures to showcase Gujarat’s performance has been excellent in providing educational facilities to children. A total of 249 forms were filled up by activists, who contacted as many schools in villages. Each form contained 83 questions.
By way of example he said in a recent analysis, as per the “Flash Statistics released by the Government of India’s District Information System for Education (DISE) for 2013-14, the percentage of schools having drinking water facility was 99.97, “It means as per 10,000 primary schools there should be only three schools which should not have any drinking water, and, the total primary schools in Gujarat are 11,698.” He adds, “The analysis of the survey reveals that implementation of RTE in Gujarat is still elusive, and in many parameters the government’s claim of 100 per cent achievement is mere eyewash.”

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