Published: 20th November 2019
488 schools in Odisha shut down in 2019-20 academic session due to poor enrolment
Schools with less than 10 students are being closed by the government, 966 more primary schools will face closure soon
Efforts of the government to motivate children to continue school education by introducing several schemes seem to have failed to achieve the desired result. Poor enrolment has forced the government to shut down 1,772 schools in five years. A whopping 488 schools have faced closure in 2019-20 academic session alone.
According to the School and Mass Education department, 41 primary and upper primary schools have been shut down in Kandhamal district, while 39 primary schools have been closed in Sundargarh district. Eleven schools in Khurda and 27 schools in Cuttack have also been closed due to poor enrolment of students.
The statistics also reveal that between 2015-16 and 2018-19, as many as 1,278 elementary schools (1,236 primary and 42 upper primary) faced closure due to poor admission. Six high schools in Kendrapara, Sundargarh, Jagatsingpur, Nayagarh and Jagatsinghpur have also been closed due to poor student strength.
The School and Mass Education department also asked District Education Officer of Puri to close the Government Girls’ School at Badasankha in the district. The State Government plans to close down 966 primary schools in various districts where less than 10 students have taken admission. Besides, three more aided high schools will be shut down for the same reason.
The government is spending crores of rupees under mid-day meal, free uniform, free textbooks and other schemes to encourage students to join government-run and aided schools. However, rising cases of schools facing closure due to poor enrolment has raised questions on the effectiveness of the schemes and programmes. In a written reply to the assembly, School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash recently said 475 primary and 13 upper primary schools have been closed in the current academic session due to poor enrolment.
The minister said students of these sub-optimal schools have been shifted to nearby schools and are provided transport fee if the distance of school from the student’s home is more than one km in case of primary and upper primary level and three km in case of secondary level.