Schools Underestimate Sanitation

Kompas, page 12

Sanitation in schools as part of the Sustainable Development target fulfillment is still taken too lightly. Lack of public awareness as well as geographic factors becomes an obstacle. Actually, adequate sanitation could make students feel at home in school. Chief of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) UNICEF Aidan Cronin at the 5th WASH International Conference in Jakarta, Monday (14/11), said that, in various areas, where schools provide adequate sanitation facilities, students could learn about health as well as hygienic behavior.

The forum revealed, in Indonesia, the number of school sanitation facilities are not only insufficient, but also not gender sensitive. Education Basic Data (Dapodik) in 2016, revealed that only 40 percent of high schools (SMA) and 50 percent of vocational high schools (SMK) have separate toilets for men and women. Meanwhile, only 65 percent of primary schools and 60 percent of junior high schools have   separate toilets. Finally, students are uncomfortable and are reluctant to use the toilet.

Director General of Primary and Secondary Education and the Ministry of Education and Culture Hamid Muhammad said there are major constraints in school sanitation.
First, lack of sanitation, such as decent toilets and sinks. Secondly, there are certain areas that have difficulty in obtaining clean water in a sustainable manner. Third, the school community’s commitment to take good care of existing sanitation has not really been applied. The key to quality education is a healthy, safe, comfortable environment, and gender sensitive in any infrastructure in the school.

Reza Hendrawan, UNICEF WASH expert explained, although the school operational assistance covers 5 percent of fund allocation to build sanitation facilities, schools located in dense areas do not have the land to build additional toilets. Conversely, there are schools that have enough land, but the principals and teachers do not realize the importance of sanitation. The 2015 UNICEF study revealed that one in seven Indonesian girls chose not go to school because of the lack of sanitation facilities in educational institutions. Girls who experienced menstrual periods are in need of sanitation facilities that support their convenience.



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