Handwashing facilities for schools: Ministry short of over Rs. 300 m

By Sarah Hannan

Earlier this week, the Secretary to the Ministry of Education stated that the Ministry was short of funds to allocate for all state schools to build the necessary handwashing facilities and additional amenities.

Offering further insight to The Sunday Morning, Secretary to the Ministry of Education N.H.M. Chithrananda stated:
“Rs. 418 million is required to install the necessary amenities to enable handwashing in schools. At the moment, the Ministry of Education is left with a balance of Rs. 100 million. We are now considering options to raise the balance to make the necessary purchases of sinks, taps, water pipes, and water storage tanks and then fixing them.”

When allocating funds for these facilities, the Ministry is to prioritise the schools which are in rural areas that have no way of attracting sponsors/well-wishers/old pupils’ associations to build such facilities.

While the Minister on several occasions said that parents will not be burdened or required to contribute financially to build these facilities, schools will be allowed to reach out to well-wishers or old pupils’ associations and make a request, Chithrananda added.

From the Government’s end, the Ministry had requested the respective local government institutions such as divisional secretariats, municipal councils, urban councils, and pradeshiya sabhas to facilitate the necessary water supply facilities to schools.

“Some schools do not have a consistent water supply and would have to seek assistance from these state institutions to supply water through bowsers. That water is then to be stored in storage tanks that are to be placed in schools.

Even these storage tanks will need to be purchased or built at schools,” Chithrananda noted.

Should any of the private sector institutions volunteer to build such facilities for schools, they too could reach out the zonal or divisional educational offices to inquire about which schools have such requirements.