Students at Kerala’s St Joseph’s Upper Primary School | By special arrangement
Students at Kerala’s St Joseph’s Upper Primary School, where ‘water bell’ concept was first initiated | By special arrangement
Text Size:

Bengaluru: Kerala has been in news of late for a good health practice initiated by some of its schools — ringing a bell thrice in the day to remind students to drink water. Following in its footsteps, Karnataka and Telangana have now decided to introduce the concept in all government schools in the two states.

Karnataka’s Primary Education Minister Suresh Kumar announced last week that all government schools will have a water bell that will ring three times during school hours to remind students to consume water.

“The bell will ring at 10.35 am, at noon and at 2 pm every day to remind students to drink water. During these breaks, which will last for ten minutes, teachers will instruct kids to drink water and advise them why it is important to keep their body hydrated,” Kumar told reporters at a press conference.

In Telangana, Education Minister P. Sabitha Indra Reddy issued a directive to all district education officers last week to implement the ‘water bell’ concept in schools immediately.

Indraprastha Vidyalaya, a private school in Mangaluru’s Uppinangady town, was the first school in Karnataka to implement the ‘water bell’ model under which three water breaks are given.

School principal Jose M.J. said they had received complaints from parents that their children would return home with full or half-filled water bottles.

“We began receiving complaints from parents that children were returning home with their water bottles full. So we decided to implement the ‘water bell’ (model) to ensure that they drink water,” he said. 

We are deeply grateful to our readers & viewers for their time, trust and subscriptions.

Quality journalism is expensive and needs readers to pay for it. Your support will define our work and ThePrint’s future.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Speaking to ThePrint, Commissioner for Public Instruction K.G. Jagdeesha said the education department is in the process of planning a two-part system to introduce the concept in schools.

According to the department, the bell will ring thrice and a circular will be issued to that effect in urban areas where children carry water bottles to schools. However, children in rural areas do not carry water bottles and, therefore, a 10-minute break will be given so that students can go and drink water, Jagdeesha said.

“It is not compulsory to drink water every time the water bell rings. It is just a reminder to drink water. If one child drinks or sips water then others also will be inspired to take a sip. That’s what we are aiming at,” he added. 


Also read: This World Water Day, remember, a cup of coffee takes 130 litres & meat’s a guzzler


Water bell concept was initiated in Kerala 2 years ago

The ‘water bell’ concept was first initiated two years ago in Kerala’s St Joseph’s Upper Primary School, located in Irinjalakuda, by its physical education teacher Jenil John.

Jenil John with Kerala Education Minister C. Raveendranath | By special arrangement
Jenil John with Kerala Education Minister C. Raveendranath | By special arrangement

John, a former national-level handball player, told ThePrint the idea struck him when he found that children were often going on sick leave due to infections or fever. The root cause turned out to be dehydration, he said. John then decided to shoot a video in the school as he went around asking students to drink water for the camera. “Seeing the camera, they were compelled to drink.”

He said the video also had a message about the importance of water consumption.

“The video was of a boy who faints after not drinking water despite feeling thirsty. He develops a severe stomach ache and a water bottle provided by the teacher and a school announcement makes the child realise the importance of drinking water. That is when we thought why not introduce a water bell just before the interval,” said John.

“We also noticed that girls were not drinking enough water so that they don’t need to go to the toilet. That was causing them more health issues,” he added.

John is now absolutely thrilled that his idea has had such a far-reaching impact — with the Karnataka and Telangana governments deciding to implement it. 

“I am thrilled to see that the concept that we introduced two years ago has received such wide appreciation. I have received calls from doctors, who have applauded this move,” he told ThePrint.

‘A body clock is better than a water bell’

Speaking about the concept, Karnataka Associated Management of Schools general secretary Shashi Kumar, however, raised an issue. 

“When you are introducing water breaks in between classes, it is also important to address infrastructure and water facilities in schools. There are schools, especially in rural areas, that don’t have washroom facilities. Girls, especially, will find it difficult if basic amenities are not provided,” he said.

Others believe the concept of reminding children to drink water is important, but forcing them to drink at a particular time may not be the best thing.  

“It is a good concept, but children should be aware when to drink water when their body needs it. A body clock is better than a water bell,” said M. Srinivasan, president of Management of Independent CBSE Schools Association. 

Srinivasan feels instead of having a bell that reminds children of drinking water, it is better if schools allow children to drink water anytime during classes, which is not allowed at present.


Also read: Snoop on school bags for ‘anything red’ — Valentine’s Day diktat for Karnataka schools


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

News media is in a crisis & only you can fix it

You are reading this because you value good, intelligent and objective journalism. We thank you for your time and your trust.

You also know that the news media is facing an unprecedented crisis. It is likely that you are also hearing of the brutal layoffs and pay-cuts hitting the industry. There are many reasons why the media’s economics is broken. But a big one is that good people are not yet paying enough for good journalism.

We have a newsroom filled with talented young reporters. We also have the country’s most robust editing and fact-checking team, finest news photographers and video professionals. We are building India’s most ambitious and energetic news platform. And we aren’t even three yet.

At ThePrint, we invest in quality journalists. We pay them fairly and on time even in this difficult period. As you may have noticed, we do not flinch from spending whatever it takes to make sure our reporters reach where the story is. Our stellar coronavirus coverage is a good example. You can check some of it here.

This comes with a sizable cost. For us to continue bringing quality journalism, we need readers like you to pay for it. Because the advertising market is broken too.

If you think we deserve your support, do join us in this endeavour to strengthen fair, free, courageous, and questioning journalism, please click on the link below. Your support will define our journalism, and ThePrint’s future. It will take just a few seconds of your time.

Support Our Journalism

Share Your Views

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here