New Delhi: HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday asked states to prepare an action plan for construction of toilets for girls in all government schools by July next year in keeping with the goal set up Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In his Independence Day speech, Modi had said that all schools should construct separate toilets for girl students within a year.
Laying emphasis on girls education and creation of enabling environment for them to come to school and complete their education, Irani said quality of teaching, which still remains a challenge, has to be improved.
Addressing the state education secretaries meet, she requested them to "prepare an action plan for construction of toilets in all government schools so that the vision and the goal set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech for providing all government schools with toilets within one year becomes a reality".
While Modi had called upon the corporate sector to join the government in this endeavour, the meeting today discussed a strategy to tap the corporate social responsibility fund and encourage individual corporates and institutions to build the toilets.
According to an analysis, "50 percent of the schools without toilets are in the six states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal", Union School Education Secretary R Bhattacharya said.
"Those who are interested in contribution of funds, a separate modality is also being worked out by the government," he told reporters.
Irani, also underscored about the 'Sala Darpan' and 'Sala Utsav' programmes to bring back pride to the teaching profession and conduct of foundation day programmes in schools involving the community at large and felicitating teachers.
The minister, on the occasion, launched 'Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat' programme focusing on early reading, writing and comprehension and early grade mathematics.
Bhattacharya said thrust was also laid on providing upper primary and primary schools in the neighbourhood as there are six per cent habitation in the country who do not have an upper primary school in the neighbourhood and two per cent habitation which do not have a primary school in the neighbourhood. Enhanced focus was also laid on the "convergence" between school and higher education departments regarding teacher training programmes and about teacher educators, the secretary said.
In this regard, he said, revision of curriculum on teacher education was paramount as out of the 247 universities who have a department of education, only 69 have revised curriculum for teacher education.
The meeting was also attended by higher education secretary and the the heads of UGC, AICTE, NCTE.
The HRD Minister also launched a publication 'including children with special needs -- primary stage' on curriculum adaptation development brought out by NCERT to help teachers create an inclusive classroom environment for children with special needs.
Besides, she launched the Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhijan for wide public awareness of the programme.