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Should students be forced to sweep floors due to lack of sweepers?
In some schools students are forced to sweep floors of their classrooms or to cook mid-day meals. It seems, teachers and administration of these schools are yet to understand the Right to Education Act, so they making sweepers out of students. Who will sweep these students' problems?

IN A shocking incident, students of standard I to VII of Municipal School in Kulgaon, Badlapur Primary Municipal School in Mumbai are forced to sweep and mop the floors in morning hours as there are no sweepers to do the job. The students are required to come early an hour everyday to clean the three-storey building, including open land of premises.

Students are doing this job since last few years but only got noticed by media and other authorities now. Interestingly, civic authorities claim that there are few sweepers in Badlapur area and none out of them is allotted for the municipal school, according to Mid Day.

“It is pity, on one side we talk about Right to Education and on other side, school is taking this manual job from primary school students. Authorities must take action on school administration. Why not principal and teachers clean and mop the classrooms?” said Preeti Gaur, a school teacher from Kendriya Vidhyalaya, Chennai.

The premises houses the two primary schools. The school authority has given the keys of classrooms to their students and asked them to do sweeping. Their names are usually decided a day before and they turn in groups of two or three. Once a month teachers tell them to mop the floors with wet clothes.

The local corporate and chairman of education committee Ashish Damle has other story to tell. He said that there is no education inspector for this area who can direct the problems. The amount sanctioned by municipality is fewer for development and education. There are also 5-6 sweepers in the ward of 2-3 lakh strong population.

“This type of work definitely affects the growth of children and has an adverse impact on their bodies. I do not think teachers are educating kids about their hygiene. It is better that authorities  stop students from sweeping floors,” said Dr Jasal Gujral, child specialist, John Hopkins Medical College, Singapore.

“I think the principal is responsible for this. In the absence of sweeper it does not mean that students should be forced to sweep the floors on daily basis. How guard of school is permitting these students to enter the school before the scheduled timing? If something happens to these kids who will be responsible?” asked Tina Fernades, member of an NGOs for child rights.

The parents of students are also helpless as there is no teacher-parent association. However, in India many Bal Sansad or the state’s child cabinet schemes encourages students to keep their classrooms and campuses clean, but only with involvement of teachers. Here, teachers don't participate in the task, which is completely against student-friendly school norms.

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