Bengaluru: A special bell will ring thrice a day in all government, aided, unaided and centrally-sponsored schools before the onset of summer to encourage students to drink water at regular intervals.
The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has decided to launch the ‘water bell’ initiative to make students drink water at specific intervals during the day to keep them hydrated to avoid stomach and kidney ailments.
The water bell concept is picked up from Kerala, DPI sources told Deccan Chronicle. Kerala has successfully implemented it at its primary and high schools in Kasargod, Waynad, Kannur and Thrissur among other districts and has received a good response from students, teachers, parents and health experts.
“The water bell rings thrice a day in all schools of Kerala at 10.35 am, 12 pm and 3 pm and students get a five-minute break and all the students have to drink water. Students have not been specified about the quantity of water to drink, but teachers in classrooms ensure that everyone drinks water. It will be implemented in Karnataka schools too,” the official said. Primary and Secondary Education Minister S. Suresh Kumar has sent a letter to Mr K.G. Jagadeesh, Commissioner of Public Instruction, to study the water bell concept and take steps to launch it in all the 80,000 schools across the state.
Water bell is based on the United Nations guidelines that every child should have access to safe drinking water and that is a basic human right, although there is no mechanism to ensure that every child drinks adequate water.
Most of the girls do not drink enough water at school, though they carry a water bottle. They want to avoid going to the toilet in school, which in most cases is dirty.
Experts say if girl students do not drink enough water, they will suffer from headaches, dehydration and urinary infections.
‘Dehydration leads to difficulty in learning’
“Children and teenagers need to consume 1.5-3 litres of water every day. The quantity can vary depending on gender, age and weight. Mild dehydration causes headaches, irritability, poor physical performance and learning difficulty. Students may also experience symptoms like fatigue and poor endurance. In the long run, chronic lack of fluids may affect kidneys, liver, brain and can also lead to constipation”, said Dr Krishnamurthy, Paediatrician and retired director of Mysore Medical College and Research Centre.
‘Students don’t drink enough water’
“Students carry water bottles from home, but they drink only little or no water during the day. There have been a number of complaints of headaches, dehydration and other health issues. We have discussed this issue with several teachers, school authorities and parents,” said Thomas Koshi, principal of a central school.