November 22, 2020.
TED NewsDesk, Odisha: The Biju Janta Dal (BJD) government has reviewed its plan to combine schools with lesser number of students in reserved areas. The decision came on Sunday after receiving several disapprovals and protests by the opposition in the Assembly.
Under the Constitution’s Fifth Schedule, the Odisha government categorised several areas as the scheduled regions owning to tribal predominance. These regions have specific laws; the scheduled areas comprise of 3 entire districts and nine districts partially.
“In scheduled areas, only schools with less than 15 students will be merged with other schools. However, suppose anywhere any student faces difficulties. In that case, they can approach the district administration or the ministry with their grievances, and their concerns will be looked into,” said Samir Ranjan Dash, School and Mass Education Minister while justifying the government’s intention.
“A separate fresh list will be prepared again to ascertain the exact number. The number of such schools with less than 15 students will be around 3,000”, Dash added.
After the government’s announcement of merging the schools, various parties in opposition like BJP, Congress questioned the decision and charged the ruling party with allegations of divesting kids of their right to learning. Pramila Mallick, chief whip of BJD outlined the significant role of the merger in rationalising assets.
The state education department released a notice in March informing about the merger of 11,517 schools with very few numbers of registration. However, it could not initiate the process due to COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown that followed. As Center lifted the lockdown through various phases, the Odisha government released another notification in continuation of the previous one in this matter.
The government in its notice (released on the first week of November) directed the administrations of the districts to initiate the task for 8000 schools spread over 15 Districts. The Sustainable Action of NITI Aayog is handling the merger intending to Develop Human Capital in Educational scheme.
Sources: Indian Express