The CBSE has initiated a campaign titled ‘Swachh Vidyalaya – Shreshta Vidyalaya’ aimed at ushering in a cleaner, and hence healthier, environment in schools. Several schools in the state, too, have taken up clean-up programmes, awareness campaigns and study classes as part of it
KOCHI: The challenge of realising Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of making India clean has been taken up by schoolchildren. The school campuses are preparing to go the whole hog to secure a clean environment for themselves and the coming generations on the occasion of celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi.
The CBSE has initiated a campaign titled ‘Swachh Vidyalaya – Shreshta Vidyalaya’ modelled on the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It has asked schools to conduct awareness campaigns, study classes and briefing sessions among students who also will start their own initiatives.
This is aimed at making every student and others in the schools imbibe the spirit of cleanliness and practise it in real life.
“The project plans a structured pattern of cleanliness and eco-friendly atmosphere throughout the year,” said Ms Indira Rajan, senior principal of Pragati Academy, Perumbavoor, and secretary-general, National Council of CBSE Schools.
“All plastic articles will be removed from the school compound to start with and the use of plastics will be avoided thereon. All sorts of wastes - organic and inorganic – will be disposed of. Steps will be taken to prevent the use of drugs and tobacco on the campus and in the surroundings,” she said.
The programme has six essential elements-- sanitation, daily handwashing with soap before mid-day meal, drinking water, operation and maintenance (O&M), behaviour change activities and enhanced capacities.
Schools may form four groups which can be named after Gandhiji’s life events. Each group will have the responsibility to collect bio and non-bio litter separately from the premises and adjacent places of the institution. The students will be encouraged to donate clothes to tailoring units to make bags and some may try their hand at sewing also. Single use plastics will be banned. The Vidyalaya will pledge not to use plastic brochure, files and bags but promote fibre materials. The students can be given training in transforming the waste to useful materials.
There can be a Swachh day every week and cultural activities can be arranged like street dramas and flash mob to spread awareness on the themes.
“The topmost performing school in each district will be given an award sponsored by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Government of India and the Council of CBSE Schools in Kerala,” said Ms Indira Rajan.
Additional director of public instruction (DP)-academic, C.A. Santhosh, said that a green protocol was already in place in schools under the state stream. “Plastic and disposable cups and paper plates are not to be used for functions. Each school and office under the education department has been directed to have a waste disposal unit. Several schools already have bio-gas plants while a project is being implemented to create waste disposal units that fit the schools and education offices,” said Santhosh.
“Several schools and offices have opted for compost units. Five percent of the plan fund has been earmarked for dealing with waste,” he added.
E-waste was cropping up in schools these days. “We handed over tonnes of e-waste to the Clean Kerala Company Limited under the state government which scientifically deals with it. Currently, the plastic waste generated on the school campuses are tackled by the school authorities with the help of the local self-governments,” said Santhosh.
However, in Ernakulam, the students in association with the district administration have gone a step further by launching a project called Collectors@School.
Under the project, Mini Material Collection Facilities (MMCF) will be set up in schools. Students will collect pet bottles, hard bottles, milk covers and paper from houses, segregate and clean them and take them to schools. These will be deposited with the MMCF.
“The scrap dealer in the area or Green Task Force will be entrusted with collecting the segregated materials from MMCF. The project is being implemented with the participation of Suchitwa Mission, education department, Green Kerala Mission, local self-government institutions, voluntary organisations, Kudumbasree Mission and traders,” said an education department official.
District collector S. Suhas inaugurated the programme at North Paravur on Wednesday.
It is being implemented in three schools in the first phase. Different from the state project, organic farming will also be promoted along with it. The Suchitwa Mission has planned different such projects from Anganwadi to colleges. “By inculcating the culture of cleanliness among students, the project proposes to take the message to families and society,” said the official.