Syed Rizwan Geelani
Srinagar: A new study has revealed that only 3 percent of schools (government and private) in J&K are equipped with toilets for Children with Special Needs (CWSN).
The survey conducted by the Unified District Information System of Education (UDISE) has revealed that out of 3 percent of schools equipped with the CWSN friendly toilets, only 1.47 percent are functional, throwing a major challenge for the authorities to cater to the needs of CWSN in schools.
As per the data, around 21,289 CWSN are enrolled in 28,930 schools – government-run 23167, and private-unaided 5649.
However, the educational institutions are poorly equipped with CWSN-friendly facilities.
As per the data, around 11,379 – 6809 boys and 4570 girls are enrolled in primary-level schools while 6522 students – 3739 boys and 2783 girls are enrolled in upper primary-level schools.
Also, 2425 CWSN – 1306 boys and 1146 girls are enrolled at the secondary level while 936 students – 458 boys and 478 girls are enrolled at the higher-secondary level.
However, the schools lack the basic facilities of CWSN facilities.
As per the data, only 1109 schools including 384 government schools and 707 private unaided schools are equipped with CWSN-friendly toilets of which these toilets are functional only in 1046 schools- 340 government and 688 private schools.
“Only 3.83 percent schools – 1.66 percent government and 12 percent private unaided are equipped with CWSN-friendly toilets of which only 3.62 percent schools have functional toilets for CWSN children. These include 1.47 percent government and 12 percent private unaided schools,” reads the UDISE survey.
The survey has also revealed that only 38 percent of schools have ramps for CWSN students while only 3889 (13 percent) schools – both government and private – have handrails for CWSN.
As per the UDISE survey, the J&K SED has shown an improvement in the electrification of schools besides providing drinking water facilities for the students as well.
Of the 23,167 government schools, 16,234 have electricity connection of which 15,483 connections are functional.
Also, around 22,375 educational institutions are equipped with drinking water facilities of which 21,844 are functional.
“Of the 23,167 schools, toilet facilities are available in 22,222 institutions but only 20,730 are functional,” the survey reads.
The SED has been successful to have libraries in 15,273 (66 percent) schools while only 4285 (18.5 percent) schools are equipped with computer facilities and only 1200 (5 percent) schools have an internet connection.
Project Director Samagra Shiksha J&K, Deep Raj told Greater Kashmir that the directorate has constructed CWSN-friendly toilets in more than 400 schools in the last six months.
“Some schools already have this facility but we are also in the process to provide this facility in all the schools,” he said. “Some schools have no space available for the construction of CWSN-friendly toilets while some schools are operating from rented accommodations. There is no provision to provide this facility in rented schools.”
About the lack of internet connection in schools, he said that the department was likely to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BSNL to have a broadband internet connection in all the schools.
“Otherwise mobile internet connection is available in all the schools,” he said. (Greater Kashmir)