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Where girls fear to turn up to school every day

Absence of proper toilet facility forces students to keep off school

Except this year, the PR Government School for Girls in Kakinada had never witnessed the record enrolment of students in six decades of its existence. Recently, 50 students joined the school by quitting private schools.

The teachers who persuaded the parents deserve the credit for their feat — the increase of the student strength from 150 in 2019-20 to 233 now (Class VI-X).

A few weeks after the reopening of the school, there was no cheer on the face of any stakeholder — students, teachers, and parents. The prime factor — absence of a safe toilet facility, privacy, and drainage system on the campus that gets inundated even after a single spell of rain.

The school has barely a single toilet block with four rooms for urinals and four for toilets. None of the doors in the block is functioning. The block is in a dilapidated state. It is also adjacent to the boys’ school building, putting the privacy of the girls in question.

Spending more than six hours a day in the school for five to six days a week, the girls will have to accept whatever facility is available or quit the school.

The girls told The Hindu that they have been using the single toilet block. It has no door. During rains, the toilet becomes unhygienic and not fit for use. They have another toilet block that is under repair for some months. They cannot even walk into that block during rains. Some girls have to guard the entrance for others to use the toilet. For 12 women teachers, they have only one separate toilet.

Students keep off

The parents have stopped sending their daughters to school, citing the absence of safe hygienic conditions and poor toilet facilities, in particular.

“The parents are not willing to send the girls to our school. On Saturday alone, nearly 50% of girls were absent. Poor toilet facility and stagnation of rainwater are the prime reasons. Nowadays, the maximum attendance is 170,” Head Master K.V.V. Satyanarayana Rao said. There is no drainage system in the school.

The appeals to the District Education Department for the toilet and drainage facilities fell on deaf ears. The school is a stone’s throw from the District Education Department’s office. The government has included the school for the Nadu-Nedu programme for the renovation of the entire campus. However, there is no schedule for the commencement of the programme.

“Parents are worried about the girls. We are not able to convince them about the facilities in the school. We have no word of assurance of any facility except to run the school”, said Katada Durga Devi, chairman of School Parents’ Committee.

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