In Wednesday’s meeting the ministry said, information of 54,511 schools across 54 districts of the country has been received.

The ministry report said 48,474 or 88.93 per cent of the primary schools have usable tube wells or water sources. And, 6,037 schools or 11.07 per cent of primary schools lack those.

Nazarpur Government Primary School of Sunamganj’s Dharamapasha upazila is one of those schools that lacks useable tube well or water sources.

Headmaster of the school, Abdul Momen, said to Prothom Alo, "There is a tube well in their school. But, it broke down for remaining unused for a long period during corona outbreak when the schools were closed."

Now the students and teachers are suffering for the lack of potable as well as toilet water. They have to carry water from afar, he added.

The ministry report showed, there are no useable wash block and toilet in 4,951 or 9.08 per cent of primary schools across 54 districts of the country. On the opposite, 19,816 or 36.35 per cent of schools have useable wash block and 39,968 or 73 per cent primary schools have useable toilets.

It was said in the report, 54,027 primary schools have arrangements for washing hands with soap or has hand sanitizers. Toilet and wash block in 96 per cent of the primary schools are regularly cleaned with toilet cleaners like Harpic or phenyl.

Md Muhibur Rahman, director general (additional charge) of the directorate of primary education told Prothom Alo that work is going on to ensure sanitation services in all the primary schools of the country.

The report lacks information of 10 districts. When that is included, the number and percentage of schools having water and sanitation services will increase even further. Services will be ensured in all schools within next year, he added.

In June this year, a report of UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO) said, one out of every five (19 per cent) schools in Bangladesh lack safe drinking water. This is affecting 8.5 million students.

And, there is a lacking of hygiene services including the facility of washing hands with soap and water in 44 per cent of schools, effects of which are evident on more than 19 million students, it added.

The UNICEF and WHO report also stated there is no ‘WASH’ facility in 7 per cent of Bangladesh schools. That means, more than 3 million toddlers go to such schools that do not have safe drinking water, hygienic latrine and any hand washing space.

Rasheda K Chowdhury, former advisor to the caretaker government told Prothom Alo that Bangladesh was at a good position regarding potable water and sanitation.

The fact, 11 per cent of schools lacking potable water or 9 per cent of schools not having usable toilets is somewhat alarming. If the number is considered, it is quite large.

Lack of these facilities discourages students, especially the ones studying in class four or five to go to school. So, the issue has to be stressed on. Infrastructural development should go alongside qualitative development of education, Rasheda K Chowdhury added.