The Education of waterSeptember 6, 2011
The Education of water
The burden of mismanagement of our land, water and environment will fall on the future generation in no small measure. In our schools therefore we need to inculcate quickly an engagement and a learning by which the younger generation come to understand the situation with water and what they could do about it themselves as young citizens of the nation.
A sterling example was in a small primary school in a village called Byrapura. The school has one teacher and 30 students from Class 1 to 5. On its notice board students regularly and daily write up on the weather conditions. Rainfall details are recorded as heavy, light and traces. The school has built itself a rainwater tank and uses the water in the mid-day meal programme. The water quality is checked daily by students using a H2S strip test bottle, which indicates the presence or absence of bacteria.
Once a month the teacher along-with the School Development Management Committee (SDMC) gets the water tank cleaned using bleaching powder.
The Rotary Club has donated a water filter and all children take turns in filling it up from the rainwater tank. Drinking water is sourced from the filter only.
A small hand-pump brings water to the mid-day meal scheme area where the cooking happens. Dishes are washed and cooking happens with rainwater only. All children wash their own dishes and glasses as well as their hands before and after every meal and that too with soap.
The toilet built by the government has separate facilities for boys and girls. The teacher forms a committee of students who are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the facility with the help of a cleaning lady who comes and cleans every-day. They make sure that brush and phenyl is available and that soap is replaced if over and the hand towels are washed and kept clean every-day.
Children are encouraged to understand and participate in every activity. The teacher himself runs a garden in the school after the classes are over. For half an hour, the school children plant vegetables and flowers and take care of the garden with the teacher. Many of the vegetables for the mid-day meal are grown in the school itself.
The teacher ensures that all waste in the school is collected in 2 dustbins. The children segregate the waste and make compost with the bio-degradable waste. This is then used in the school garden.
Children are aware of personal hygiene and a clean dress and also understand the scarcity value of water in their place. They use water sparingly but efficiently.
The school curriculum dealing with the environment is a favourite with all the students. This is a government school and there is much to learn from it for many a private school.
Committed teachers and a good SDMC can make all the difference for our children and their environmental education. A bit of support from the outside community such as the Rotary donating a water filter and another group helping build a rainwater tank only makes the system and the learning better,
In the future generation and their enlightened participation lies the good management of water. Water wisdom is this and no better time to educate when it is raining.