Hyderabad: A room of one’s own is important for women, said writer Virginia Woolf. And for students, it is important to have separate classrooms. But around half of the primary schools students in Telangana do not sit in separate classes, according to the Annual State of Education Report (2018).
The report revealed that in 49% of primary schools in the State, students of fourth standard sat along with one or more other class students. The number gets higher for second standard students, wherein 60.5% sit with one or more other classes. It can also be observed that this trend has been increasing from 2010, with the percent increasing from 57.3% in 2010 to 60.5% in 2018. The assessment was done based on a survey conducted in 259 primary schools across the State.
Speaking to NewsMeter, a teacher from a government school in Hyderabad said, “Education is in the Concurrent list, which implies that both State and Union Governments should have a common agenda to elevate the standards of education. But it does not happen and is more noticeable in Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. In some cases, when you highlight this problem in front of the administration, they would be more eager to close down the school itself, instead of pumping funds to improve the standards. This grave issue requires immediate redressal.”
Although the Right to Education Act, 2009 mandates that every school building should have safe and adequate drinking water facilities and separate toilets for boys and girls, the ASER report 2018 shows that this is far from happening in Telangana.
Around 42.8% of schools don’t have drinking water facilities, as of 2018. This facility has been decreasing over the years. While in 2010, 35.2% of schools did not have drinking water facility, the number has gone up to 42.8% in 2018.
In November, the Telangana government had directed schools to have a ‘water bell’ to remind students to drink water.
However, on a positive note, the number of useable toilets in schools has increased from 38.6% in 2010 to 77% in 2018. Setting up of separate girls’ toilets has also increased from 25.4% to 71.9% during the two years under consideration.