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Mukhyamantri Swachh Vidyalaya Awards launched in Jharkhand

Ranchi, Jharkhand | February | 26, 2019 :: The Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Mr Raghubar Das launched the Mukhyamantri Swachh Vidyalaya Awards during a programme organized in Project Bhawan here today. The Mukhyamantri Swachh Vidyalaya Awards have been instituted by the Government of Jharkhand with UNICEF technical support to recognize government schools that have a set of functioning and well-maintained water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. The Award will be given to 119 government schools every year in various categories based on 39 indicators such as availability of handwashing units, clean drinking water, Mid-day meal (MDM) shed, soak pit, rain water harvesting facility and dustbins in schools. Some behavioural indicators have also been included such as presence and action taken by trained teachers and members of the Child Cabinet (Bal Sansad) in schools. Based on the above indicators the schools are graded and ranked 5, 4 and 3 star.

All participating schools will be rated through the Jharkhand Swachh Vidyalya app, which will be jointly developed by the Department of Education & UNICEF. Schools can file their nominations on this app from 15 April to 15 June 2019. The winners will be announced on 15 October which is celebrated as Global Handwashing Day.

Children spend a significant portion of their day at school where WASH services can impact student learning, health, and dignity, particularly for girls. Girls are particularly vulnerable to dropping out of school due to inadequate WASH facilities in schools. The ASER reports (2018) shows considerable progress in this area in Jharkhand with 94% schools in Jharkhand having separate toilet facility for girls in schools, compared to the India average of 88%. The provision of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in school secures a healthy school environment and protects children from illness and exclusion. It is a first step towards a healthy physical learning environment, benefiting both learning and health.

Dr Neera Yadav, Minister of HRD said, “In 2018, about 2200 schools in Jharkhand were rated as 4 star or 5 star category as per the national standards of the Swachh Vidyalaya Purskar. The Department of Education has set an ambitious target of bringing 5000 schools to this level in this financial year.”

The Government has prioritized the construction of toilets at household level. To encourage safe sanitation practice from an early age, there is a crucial need to strengthen systems for social behaviour change communication (SBCC) on hygiene as well as the operation and maintenance (O&M) of toilets in schools. Therefore, it becomes important to build the capacity of teachers, community members, school management committees, Child cabinets and the staff of the Department of Education to help ensure toilets are used and maintained in the long run.

Dr Madhulika Jonathan, Chief of UNICEF Jharkhand said, “In next three years, UNICEF will focus on those schools which are not ranked or ranked as 1-star, to bring them to the 3-star category as per the national guidelines. UNICEF will support the Department of Education in capacity building, planning and monitoring for enhancing WASH facilities in schools.”

Mr AP Singh, Principal Secretary, Department of Education said, “The Department has prepared a standard operating procedure for WASH friendly schools with support from UNICEF which will be useful document for all schools. The Government may allow private schools to apply for these awards soon where 5 best private schools will be selected based on the 39 indicators.”

During the programme a ‘Success stories compendium on Best Practices in WASH in School was also released which highlights some of the good practices in water and sanitation in Jharkhand schools.

The programme was attended by Ms Poonam Srivastava, Joint Director, NITI Ayoga; Mr Umashankar Singh, SPD; Mr Binod Kumar, Director Primary; District Education Officers (DEOs), District Superintendents of Education (DSEs), teachers and school students.

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