Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Saturday, December 4, 2021

School Sanitation and Hygiene Education

School sanitation and hygiene education (SSHE) is an essential component of the Total Sanitation Campaign, which includes provision of toilet infrastructure and hand washing facilities in schools and hygiene education, to promote behavioral change amongst children. SSHE recognizes the role of children as the best change agents in absorbing and popularizing new ideas and concepts of sanitation not only in their schools but in their families and neighborhood. Schools are learning laboratories where habits of good sanitation practices, personal health and hygiene by children can go a long way in inculcating these habits when they become adults. Besides, presence of school toilets, safe drinking water, clean surroundings and basic information on hygiene improves the learning abilities of children, improves health, and improves attendance, especially of the girl child, with far reaching consequence on the health of the community. The combination of adequate facilities, correct behavioral practices and education is meant to have a positive impact on the health and hygiene conditions of the community as a whole, both now and in the future.

 

The School Sanitation and Hygiene Education Programme (SSHE) because of its potential to impact the health of children promote generational change and serve as an entry point for improving sanitation and hygiene within the family and community, has been accorded top priority under Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC). The SSHE programme gives special thrust by following the proven route of teacher-children-family-community where child is a change-agent playing an effective role on sustained basis to spread the message of improved sanitary and healthy practices.

 

School sanitation and hygiene education

 

WASH and infection prevention and control in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic By June 2020, 191 countries had implemented school closures to control the spread of COVID-19, affecting 90% of students worldwide (1.57 billion). The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UNICEF, the World Bank, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have jointly published a Framework for Reopening Schools to inform government decision making on when, where and how to safely reopen schools, which covers a range of issues including WASH. This framework includes guidance on developing policies and procedures for safe operations prior to opening (including protocols on hygiene measures, use of personal protective equipment – PPE, and cleaning and disinfection), upgrading school facilities as part of the opening process (including access to safe water, handwashing stations, cleaning supplies sex-separated toilets and provisions for menstrual hygiene management – MHM), training teachers and staff to encourage safe practices (including physical distancing, hygiene, cleaning and waste management), and actively monitoring compliance after opening.

 

Several countries have launched rapid assessments of WASH in schools in response to COVID-19. For example, Ecuador conducted a nationwide assessment of the status of WASH services in schools in June 2020. The survey included information on access to water, toilets and handwashing facilities, the availability of water and soap for handwashing, the condition and cleanliness of toilets, and the ratio of students to toilets and handwashing facilities. Provincial maps were produced showing the distribution of schools with WASH services that do not meet national standards and will require additional support to reopen safely.

 

While many countries routinely collect information on access to WASH, relatively few have national data on cleaning and disinfection or waste management in schools. In a recent environmental health assessment in Tunisia, 19% of primary schools reported lacking sufficient equipment, cleaning products, disinfectant or staff for cleaning and disinfection. The Education Management Information System (EMIS) in Ethiopia includes questions on waste management and shows that a third of primary schools nationwide and over half of primary schools in the Afar and Somali regions lack adequate waste disposal. These examples illustrate the scale of the challenge associated with safely reopening schools in many parts of the world.

 

Sourcehttps://washdata.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/JMP-2020-WASH-schools.pdf, Updated on 11th Dec, 2020