India is on a path to rapid progress in increasing access to sanitation in schools, a report by the United Nations (UN) revealed. It also said that the proportion of schools without any sanitation facility has also decreased at a fast pace in the country.
According to a new joint UN agency study – Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools: 2018 Global Baseline Report, better hygiene facilities in schools act as a base for healthy learning environment and it also supports girls more likely to attend the schools when they are on their period.
The annual report is produced by the World Health Organisation (WHO)/UN Children’s Fund Joint Monitoring Programme or JMP, which has been monitoring global progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) since 1990.
The report said, “India has made rapid progress in increasing access to sanitation facilities in schools. Between 2000 and 2016, the proportion of schools in India without any sanitation facility decreased even faster than the proportion of the population practising open defecation.”
Based on the trends reported, the JMP estimates that almost all schools in India had some type of sanitation facility in 2016 while 10 years earlier half the schools in India reported having no sanitation facility at all.
Between 2000 and 2016, the number of school-age children in India increased from 352 million to 378 million.
The report also said, “A recent survey in India also collected information on the availability of facilities for menstrual hygiene management. The proportion of schools with bins with lids for the disposal of sanitary materials varies widely across states in India, from 98 per cent in Chandigarh to 36 per cent in Chhattisgarh.”