Get the basics in order

Separate toilets and drinking water facilities are essential for basic human rights

The Supreme Court isn’t saying anything new in that separate toilets and drinking water facilities are essential for basic human rights that enhance imparting of education. That a billion people around the globe, of whom millions are Indians, still defecate in the open is truly frightening.

Where India can help itself is providing at least all its poorest schoolchildren in remote areas with basic toilet facilities that enhance dignity in the lives of human beings so that they are educated better.
It makes perfect sense that provision of such basic needs in schools is part of the RTE Act’s mandate, as the court wisely ruled after chiding Andhra Pradesh for dragging its feet on this.

But Andhra is certainly not the only state that has been unable to implement these court orders. It may take India decades to stop people endangering their lives and that of millions of others by defecating in the open, but the least it can do is to equip schools so that children learn the right things early in life.

The court has also made no distinction between minority institutions, aided or unaided, and others when it comes to requiring that such facilities, including sufficient classrooms and teaching and non-teaching staff, be provided. It would make sense to use much of the large outlay for education in the Union Budget to arm primary schools first so that there is no dent in the imparting of education, which is now a fundamental right under the RTE Act.

Next Story