The Government of Himachal Pradesh has implemented a comprehensive strategy, known as the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), to address the sanitation challenges in rural areas. This strategy has led to significant progress, with the state achieving almost universal sanitation coverage and all Panchayats claiming Open Defecation Free (ODF) status. To further incentivize and acknowledge exceptional efforts in the field of sanitation, the government introduced the Nirmal Gram Puraskar (NGP), Maharishi Valmiki Sampoorna Swachata Puraskar (MVSSP), and the School Sanitation Reward Scheme.
The School Sanitation Reward Scheme aims to enhance sanitation facilities and promote hygiene education in schools. Schools that meet the eligibility criteria, including the availability of toilets, urinals, hand washing facilities, safe drinking water, and waste management systems, can participate in the scheme. Assessment committees are formed at the block and district levels to evaluate schools based on specific criteria, and winners are selected accordingly. The scheme provides cash awards and certificates of appreciation to the cleanest primary, middle, and high/senior secondary schools at both block and district levels. The prize money is intended to be utilized for further improving sanitation facilities within the winning schools. With these initiatives, the government of Himachal Pradesh aims to foster sustainable sanitation practices and create a cleaner and healthier environment for future generations in the state’s rural areas.
Improved Sanitation Facilities: The School Sanitation Reward Scheme encourages schools to enhance their sanitation facilities, including the availability of toilets, urinals, hand washing facilities, and waste management systems. This leads to improved hygiene practices and a healthier environment for students.
Hygiene Education: The scheme emphasizes the importance of hygiene education in schools. By participating in the scheme, schools are motivated to incorporate hygiene education into their curriculum, raising awareness among students about the significance of maintaining personal hygiene and cleanliness.
Behavioral Change: The scheme plays a crucial role in fostering behavioral change among students. By promoting good sanitation practices and hygiene education, it instills positive habits and attitudes towards sanitation, which can have long-term benefits in terms of overall health and well-being.
Healthy Learning Environment: Adequate sanitation facilities and hygiene practices create a healthy learning environment for students. Access to clean toilets, hand washing facilities, and safe drinking water reduces the risk of diseases, enhances student attendance, and improves concentration and academic performance.
Community Engagement: The School Sanitation Reward Scheme involves various stakeholders, such as teachers, school management, local NGOs, and Gram Panchayats. This promotes community engagement and collective efforts towards achieving sustainable sanitation goals, creating a sense of ownership and responsibility among all stakeholders.
Recognition and Motivation: The scheme provides recognition and incentives to schools that excel in sanitation and hygiene education. The cash awards and certificates of appreciation serve as motivation for schools to maintain and improve their sanitation facilities, fostering a healthy competitive spirit among educational institutions.
Sustainable Sanitation Practices: By integrating sanitation and hygiene education into the school system, the scheme aims to create a culture of sustainable sanitation practices. Students who are exposed to proper sanitation habits at an early age are likely to carry these practices into adulthood, contributing to the long-term goal of building a sustainable and hygienic society.
To participate and compete in the School Sanitation Reward Scheme, schools in rural areas of Himachal Pradesh must satisfy the following preconditions:
- Co-educational schools with 40 or fewer students should have at least one toilet unit with two toilet seats designated for both boys and girls.
- Co-educational schools with more than 40 but less than 80 students should have at least one toilet unit with two toilet seats and one urinal each for boys and girls.
- Schools with 80 to 120 students should have at least one urinal for every 20 to 40 students, in addition to separate toilets and urinals for girls and boys.
- Handwashing facilities must be available near the toilets in adequate numbers.
- The school should have a water storage facility for handwashing and use in toilets.
- Provision must be made for safe drinking water for children.
- The school should have a system in place for solid and liquid waste management.
Urban Schools: The scheme primarily focuses on rural schools and may exclude schools located in urban areas. The eligibility criteria and assessment process are designed specifically for rural schools, considering the unique challenges and requirements of these settings.
Non-Coeducational Schools: The scheme primarily targets coeducational schools, which may exclude single-gender schools from participating. The criteria and requirements mentioned in the scheme may not apply or be applicable in the same way to schools that are exclusively for boys or girls.
Schools with Insufficient Student Enrollment: The scheme may have specific requirements regarding student enrollment to participate. Schools with very low student numbers, falling below a certain threshold, may not be eligible for the scheme.
Step 1: School Preparation
Schools interested in participating in the scheme should prepare the necessary documents and meet the eligibility criteria mentioned earlier.
The school administration should ensure that all required sanitation facilities and infrastructure are in place.
Step 2: Application Submission
The school should submit its application to the Block Development Officer (BDO) by the specified deadline, which is typically 6th February.
The application should include all relevant details and supporting documents as required by the application form.
Step 3: Scrutiny and Final List Compilation
The concerned Block Development Officer (BDO) will scrutinize the received applications and verify the fulfillment of eligibility criteria.
After scrutiny, the BDO will compile the final list of eligible schools from their respective block.
Step 4: Referral to District Rural Development Agency (DRDA)
The District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) will receive the compiled list of eligible schools from the BDO.
The DRDA will refer the list to the Block Committee responsible for conducting the assessments.
Step 5: Assessment at Block Level
Assessment teams, consisting of members appointed by the Deputy Commissioner/DRDA, will visit all schools that have applied for the scheme within the block.
The assessment will be conducted based on prescribed norms and marking criteria, assessing the schools’ sanitation and hygiene education efforts.
The assessment team will select the cleanest school in the block based on the scores achieved.
Step 6: District Level Assessment
The block-level winners, i.e., the cleanest schools from each block, will participate in the district-level competition.
The district-level assessment will be conducted by a district-level assessment team appointed by the Deputy Commissioner/DRDA.
- Application Form: The prescribed application form provided by the concerned authority needs to be duly filled and submitted.
- School Registration Documents: Documents verifying the registration and recognition of the school by the appropriate educational authority or board.
- School Infrastructure Details: Information regarding the school’s infrastructure, including the number of classrooms, student enrollment, and available sanitation facilities.
- Toilet and Sanitation Facility Details: Documentation specifying the number of toilets, urinals, handwashing facilities, water storage arrangements, and solid/liquid waste management systems in the school.
- Proof of Handwashing Facilities: Evidence demonstrating the availability of handwashing facilities near the toilets, including photographs or a detailed description.
- Safe Drinking Water Provision: Documentation confirming the provision of safe drinking water for children, such as water quality test reports or information about water sources.
- Supporting Photographs: Recent photographs of the school premises showcasing the sanitation facilities, handwashing stations, and overall cleanliness.
- Any Additional Supporting Documents: Depending on the specific requirements of the scheme or as requested by the authorities, additional documents related to the school’s sanitation practices, hygiene education initiatives, or other relevant aspects may be required.