- Students will get 50 marks in first year for partaking in social activities
- The programme is a part of the government’s Swachh Andhra initiative
- Rural Andhra Pradesh aims to go ODF by October 2018
To translate the vision of Swachh Andhra into a reality, Andhra Pradesh’s Higher Education Council has decided to award two credit points worth 50 marks to first year college students who spend 30 days participating in socially relevant programmes and activities which promote sanitation and hygiene. The decision has been taken by the Andhra Pradesh State Council for Higher Education in a bid to encourage more students to participate in cleanliness, sanitation and hygiene related activities across the state. Through this initiative, the council is hopeful that college students will become agents of change across the state and not only engage in such activities for marks, but also spread the message across to their friends and families.
We wanted our students to become agents of change in the fields of sanitation, cleanliness and waste management. Merely including these topics in curriculum may not be enough, because as responsible citizens, there should be some level of participation in bringing in change that we ourselves want to see. That was the idea behind introducing this participation based marking system in the curriculum, said Professor S. Vijaya Raju, Chairman, Andhra Pradesh State Council of Higher Education.
Under the initiative, students are allowed to either tie up with any organisation or work independently for a period of 30 days. Students can obtain a certification of their programme from any organisation they are associating with or any local authority official. On submission of this certificate to the respective college’s examination authorities, two credit points amounting to 50 marks would be awarded to the students. Students themselves have to submit a report on the kind of work they did and what changes they brought about with regard to the particular project they undertook. Only first year students are eligible for participation in this initiative.
The aim is obviously to create awareness among the students as well. This should not be seen as an attempt to score easy marks using social service. We would issue circulars to all colleges, requesting them to encourage the students to carry on with their social initiatives even beyond their first year of college, said Prof. Raju.
Along with this, the colleges have also been requested to download the Swachh Andhra app and upload activities of students who work for maintenance of sanitation and hygiene in the college premises itself. To ensure that the work of the students does not remain restricted to urban areas, the Higher Education Council will group some colleges and their students and match them with villages where sanitation is in a poor state. On behalf of the Swachh Andhra mission, students will visit those villages and partake in activities ranging from volunteering for toilet construction to training people on waste management.
The programme is scheduled to begin from the 2018 academic calendar. The Andhra Pradesh government has committed to make the rural areas of the state open defecation free (ODF) by 2018 and the participation of so many students will definitely give the government’s aim a boost. While urban areas of Andhra Pradesh were declared ODF in October 2016, rural parts of the state still lag behind with sanitation coverage of 67.02 per cent. To become completely ODF by October 2018, the additional force of college students will benefit Andhra Pradesh.