Schools get guidelines for Swachh Bharat initiative

SwachhBharatPanaji: Goa state commission for protection of child rights (GSCPCR) has framed detailed guidelines for the implementation of Swachh Bharat programme for educational institutes and homes providing shelter and care to children.

GSCPCR said every school should take up the Swachh Bharat programme as a mission instead of a one-day programme. Through its guidelines it also aimed at safety and well-being of children engaged in cleanliness drives.

Chairperson Sushma Kirtani said guidelines have been sent to the education department to be circulated to all schools as well as other institutes involving children. GSCPCR has observed that cleanliness and programmes in schools need to incorporate a behavioural and attitude change towards cleanliness. Personal hygiene and cleanliness should be seen as a starting point in initiating this change which should be a continuous progress as periodic programmes will not be able to achieve much.

First and foremost, GSCPCR said that every school must devise age-appropriate programmes for cleanliness drives, which must be supervised by adults at all times. Participation of teachers and staff should be compulsory to monitor and assist students. The ratio should be of 1:20.

All cleaning activity should preferably be conducted during regular school hours, and parents/guardians need to be informed about the nature of their child’s participation.

Other guidelines include primary school students should not be sent outside the school building for the cleaning programme. Students suffering from asthma, allergies or respiratory infections should be exempted from the cleaning programme. Children with health problems should be encouraged to participate in awareness programmes and activities such as poster-making sessions related to the mission.

Students should not be made to use any toxic cleaning materials such as acid, bleaching agents or disinfectants like phenol.

The commission has also stipulated that cleaning school compounds by students can be done only if there is no growth of tall grass or wild creepers. The school authority should inform local civic bodies to clear weeds periodically.

The commission is also of the opinion that each school needs to appoint staff to carry out some of the routine cleanliness activities. An annual contract may be put in place for acquiring and maintaining cleaning equipment and infrastructure such as water filters, plumbing, waste collection, electric fittings, etc.