Water and Education are correlated in Ways that surprise most readers. The foremost question they ask is HOW?
We will start of with a background.
There are many places in India where scarcity of water prevails. The time which could be invested in studying is used up by children in walking miles and miles to gather water. School-going as well as college-going pupils also take part in helping their family to gather water for their daily needs.
According to a report submitted by the World Health Organisation access to clean water yields a supplementary 272 million school attendances every year. The more that clean water will be available the lesser will be the number of students taking leave from classes. As UNICEF points out “safe water and adequate sanitation are as important to quality education as pencils,books and teachers”.
Water and education together play a very crucial role in gender equality. Particularly in India, the responsibility of handling household chores is left on the shoulders of girls. Early in the morning, they get up and start the task of collecting water, they are always expected to sacrifice classes because they are duty bound. UNICEF also points out that in almost 45 developing countries the burden to fetch water falls on women, almost two third households are without a source of drinking water, whereas only 12 percent places are such where children collect water. All these issues can be solved if people have proper access to water. Clean water will ensure proper sanitation facilities as well. Though a little off track but the recent blockbuster TOILET EK PREM KATHA depicts very clearly how important it is to have proper sanitation facilities.
Apart from this, the global campaign of education argues that in a post-2015 education agenda that quality education for all will be achieved if boys and girls in schools have access to separate toilets and hygiene. Lack of this facility ensures girl students missing school, since they are more likely to to need it than boys.
Without these basic necessities girl students will continue to be absent.
Water borne diseases like cholera, dysentery, diarrhea, typhoid etc add up the number of absent days for both teachers and students. Hygiene education in schools can battle this problem to a large extent.
A lack of proper access to water and sanitation will also reduce the number of quality teachers in schools and colleges. without Skilled teachers there won’t be any educated students. Having a degree merely is not education, becoming literate is education in its true sense.
Rural areas are more prone to this problem. Children are seen carrying heavy pots and buckets on their backs, which consumes their valuable school time, while further weakening their tender spines.
54% of India’s total area goes through extreme water stress especially the northwestern areas including states of Punjab and Haryana. Southern states are not left behind, Karnataka faces acute water shortage during the summer months. Even the capital of India is badly affected by water problems. The Delhi government acknowledges the problem and conveys that 22 out of 30 residents face daily shortages. Jamshedpur , Kanpur, Vishakhapatnam, Meerut, Hyderabad are also other badly affected areas. If such is the condition in urban areas then we can imagine how dull would be the scenario in rural areas. Rural areas adjoining these cities face more problems because here children along with their parents and elders indulge in fighting this problem by skipping daily constructive activities like going to school or college, or any wages earning activity.
People who lack access to both water and education face the ominous status of poverty. They are unable to get proper employment and are more prone to health hazards.
Education in these societies will help in the development of the population here. The youth, if educated properly, will find more ways of water conservation and be more efficient in dealing with the repercussions caused of water scarcity . They can bring more prosperity to their native land. Further, they can imbibe education in other people as well. Many will step out to study further and become professionally stable. They can come back and set up better infrastructure and encourage people to have proper sanitation systems. The more the population will be educated the more will be the chances of having a better environment in a particular area. Hence, water and education are interdependent. Though, one can exist without the other but jointly they will flourish.
Education is a tool which can overcome every hurdle
Written By: Manaswita Sachdeva