Dec 21, 2023

Beyond Waters - Sanitation and Education

Basic sanitation is one of the essential pillars for the quality of life in communities. It involves access to clean water, proper treatment of wastewater, and safe sanitation facilities.

However, what many may not realize is that basic sanitation goes beyond water... it has a profound influence on education, directly affecting school attendance, academic performance, and the well-being of students. Check out the impact of sanitation on education.

School Attendance

According to UNESCO's report "Ready to learn and prosper: school health and global nutrition," about one in three children worldwide do not have access to clean water in their schools. In addition to affecting health, not having access to clean water limits educational capacity and increases dropout rates. According to data from the Sanitation Panel, an initiative of the Trata Brasil Institute, students with access to sanitation have an average education of 9.18 years, while those who do not have access have an average of 5.31 years.

Disease Prevention

Youth and children who live in areas without access to clean water and safe sanitation facilities are more susceptible to contracting diseases, which forces students to miss school. And as one fact leads to another, missing school or going to school sick can lead to difficulties in keeping up with the content, reducing learning and performance. 

According to INEP statistics related to the National High School Exam (ENEM), which is an admission test for higher education in various institutions, students who lived in homes without exclusive use of a bathroom performed worse compared to those who had access to homes with bathrooms. The average grade on the ENEM for candidates who had access to a bathroom was 535.69, in contrast to students without a bathroom, whose average was 468.31, representing a difference of approximately 70 points in final scores.

Retention of Teachers

Teachers are also affected by the lack of basic sanitation. Schools with inadequate conditions may face difficulties in retaining teachers. The lack of teachers compromises the quality of education, creating a negative impact on the educational lives of children and youth who study there.

In summary, sanitation is essential for educational success. Investing in proper sanitation facilities not only improves students' health, but also elevates their academic performance. Improving sanitation conditions benefits not only students, but the entire community.

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