French students shun stinky loos

Report reveals that colleges are “struggling to deal with hygiene issues” in lavatories

12 March 2014

STUDENTS avoid using the toilets in almost a third of secondary schools and colleges, according to a new report.

The study by by the National Observatory of Security and Accessibility of Educational Institutions (ONS) revealed that in 28% of establishments - especially colleges - there was at least one case of a student who refused to use a toilet.

Almost half of students complained about a lack of paper, while more than a third cited smelly loos as the reason they chose not to use them.

Students also said they avoided washrooms due to a lack of cleanliness and privacy issues. A total 61% of establishments admitted their toilets were only cleaned once a day, while up to a third were checked twice daily.

The report also highlighted the large number of fights and assaults recorded in the boys' washrooms.

The annual ONS report said: "The problem with toilets is not inevitable. Dealing with it should not be taboo given the consequences on health and well-being”. It added: “Institutions are struggling to address this issue.”

The Education Ministry has already called on school and college staff to pay closer attention to hygiene levels throughout their buildings, and the quality of the cleaning.

The survey was conducted among 16,000 public and private secondary schools. It is hoped the report will create "an awareness of this issue that should not be taken lightly ," said Valerie Marty, President of the Federation of Parents for Public Education (PEEP).

"Often we are told 'we understand', but nothing is done” she said.

This latest report follows a recent survey revealing that poor hygiene may be harming the French economy.

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