Education officials are improving toilets in public schools across the country. However, many schools are slow to maintain them because the majority of students are not aware of good toilet hygiene.
Dirty toilets are a concern for many school administrations who constantly advise students to use them properly.
Ministry of Education spokesperson Ros Soveacha said yesterday that in order to promote hygiene and ensure the well-being of all students, the ministry is working with school administrators across the country to improve sanitary facilities for students.
He said ensuring the health of students in schools is one of the top priorities and due to the prevalence of many communicable diseases, school toilets must be kept clean, especially for female students.
“However, keeping toilets clean and hygienic requires more support from students than from staff, as they are the ones who use them and also have to take care of them,” he said.
Chrin Saly, deputy head of Norodom Primary School, said his school was spending money from its own budget to hire cleaners to improve the cleanliness of toilets for students.
“The hiring of cleaners is a function of the school and not of the ministry. School authorities therefore have full capacity to maintain cleanliness throughout the school, especially in the toilets,” he added.
He pointed out that teachers are also improving the way they teach students about health, which includes keeping toilets clean.
“By hiring a cleaner and giving the children a lesson of five to 10 minutes every day, we want to change the way the students deal with the toilet problem,” he said.
Pheng Sovannara, principal of Boeng Trabek High School, said that since the students are no longer children but have become teenagers, the school is unable to hire a cleaner to keep the toilets clean for them. Instead, it is up to each student to do so.
He said the schools have given instructions to all head teachers to schedule each class to clean the bat rooms, for example, a class must maintain the toilets for a month.
He added that they should clean the toilet if it is even gross, dirty or unclean, which will develop a sense of responsibility among the students and also teach toilet hygiene.
Sar Sokheng, principal of Samdech Euv High School in Takeo province, said, “Every student wants to use the toilet when it is clean and stench-free, so they should act together,” adding that teachers will do their best to advise them to take care.