Significance of Hygiene in Schools
Schools not only impart knowledge, but also play a major role in shaping the personality of an individual. What a student learns in school is not just confined to the four walls of a classroom but the whole school environment is a source of knowledge. Apart from knowledge, a student learns lessons of discipline, honesty and cleanliness from school and therefore, it is important for a school to maintain a hygienic atmosphere.
Hygiene challenges faced by students
There are a lot of issues related to hygiene that school goers have to face every day. Most of those can even harm them for life:
In August 2014, 88 students in India fell ill and were admitted to hospitals after eating lunch provided by a school. This is not a rare case, the same has been repeating for years. In 2013, poisoned school lunch in another school in India left 23 children dead while 47 children fell seriously ill. Most of the government-run schools and some private schools in India provide lunch to the students. Is the food worth eating? Nobody checks!
Unclean drinking water
In India, 1 out of 10 schools lack drinking water facilities. And among those who provide the facility, no one checks if the water is safe to drink. It was just a few months ago that at least 20 students fell ill after drinking water supplied at school. For students who spend most of their time at school, drinking water is a necessity and it’s important to see if the water is safe enough or they end up being ill.
Students learn lessons of personal hygiene from schools. But, what if the school fails to provide a hygienic environment? 40% of schools in India do not have toilets. Amongst those schools which have toilets, majority of the toilets are not in usable condition. The result? Health issues in students.
There’s a lot that can be done by the school authorities and government to ensure a healthy environment for students. The authorities, especially those of the school must take initiatives to spread awareness about hygiene.
How to do that?
You can achieve a hygienic school environment in 5 simple steps:
Ensure the cleanliness and availability of water in the toilets on a daily basis. Also, provide facilities for students and staff to wash hands after using toilets.
Appoint staff to take care of hygiene issues in school. The staff should ensure that the school surroundings are kept clean and the water and food provided to students are safe.
Launch health programs
Integrate the local health department with the school in conducting talks and seminars to make the students and staff aware of various health issues that can arise from unhygienic conditions and about various health practices to be implemented.
Introduce garbage pits
Create a garbage pit in school where all the waste from class rooms and the school premises can be disposed and burnt once in a week.
A lesson in personal hygiene
A person is always judged by his looks even before his actions are taken into consideration. Therefore, teach your students about the importance of personal hygiene and how remaining clean can keep them away from deadly diseases.
Mostly in rural areas, personal hygiene is not given much importance. Therefore, it is important for the school authorities to involve parents while conducting talks on hygiene.
Celebrate cleanliness week
Encourage staff and students to celebrate cleanliness week at least twice a year by cleaning the classrooms and school premises, thus making them aware of the importance of hygiene.