Following in Kerala’s footsteps, the Karnataka government has decided to ensure that government schools ring the bell three times a day as a reminder for children to drink water.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Suresh Kumar announced on Thursday that a ‘water bell’ would ring in all government schools at 10.35 am, noon and 2 pm every day to remind students to drink water. Each break will last for 10 minutes and it would be made mandatory for students to drink water at the time.
In Karnataka, one private school in Dakshina Kannada district’s Uppinangady has already started implementing the programme, where three 10-minute water breaks are given to students.
“The Kerala government initiative is a good one and I have instructed officials with the Department of Public Instruction to look into implementing this programme at the earliest. There are a lot of health problems that can occur due to dehydration. If we can prevent it, then we must do so,” Suresh Kumar said.
Speaking to TNM, Director of the Department of Public Instruction, KG Jagadeesha said that the government has approved the water bell scheme and that the department is figuring out the logistics.
“We have not yet issued a circular about the water bells to government schools. In Kerala, we learnt that the children were asked to bring water bottles from home. We have to see how it can work here. In many places, the children may not be able to afford water bottles,” Jagadeesha said.
The director further stated that currently, RO water is available outside the classroom in all government schools for the children. “The Kerala model has alerted everyone that even though water is available some children, mostly the girl children, refrain from drinking water. This can affect their health. We are trying to come up with alternatives on whether the government will provide the water bottles or if any other plan has to be implemented on how the water will be distributed during these breaks,” Jagadeesha said.
The government of Kerala implemented the water bell scheme in Wayanad, Kannur, Thrissur and Kasargod districts. Following this, the Telangana government also announced that it would implement the water bell scheme.