SRINAGAR: Amid rising concerns over high school drop-out rate of girls due to menstrual hygiene issues, Union Ministry of Education (MoE) has approved installation of sanitary pad vending and incinerator machines in over 1000 government schools in Jammu and Kashmir.
The sanitary pad vending machines and incinerators would be installed and commissioned under the centrally sponsored Samargra Shiksha scheme in 1,025 government schools across the Union Territory (UT), officials said. The installation and commissioning of such machines will start in the coming days.
Experts inform that surveys have established that lack of menstrual knowledge, poor access to sanitary products, and a non-facilitating school environment make it difficult for girls to attend schools.
In an communiqué to the chief education officers (CEO) of Jammu and Kashmir, an official of Samagra Shiksha said, “At least 1025 government schools including 74 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas and 951 high and higher secondary schools were approved by MoE for Installation of Sanitary Pad Vending Machines and Incinerator Machines.”
The CEOs have been asked to instruct the head of the institutions of the designated schools to finalize a suitable position and location for mounting the equipment within school premises. “Schools where electrical fitting is not available, the expenditure incurred on it shall be met from school electric fund and annual school grant,” it reads.
A survey conducted by UNICEF for India had also revealed that over 85 per cent of girls in the country used cloth during menstruation instead of the widely available and safer sanitary napkins being produced in the country at cheap rates, the official said.
According to medical experts, most girls start their periods when they’re about 12. It is important for parents to talk to their girls as well as schools to educate their students from an early age, so as to make sure they’re prepared and well-informed.