Odisha Govt to launch drive to woo school dropouts

Bhubaneswar: Expressing concern over the abysmally low attendance of students after the COVID-19 pandemic, Odisha School and Mass Education (S & ME) Department today announced that it has come up with a strategy to bring back the school dropouts.

Speaking to mediapersons here, S & ME Minister Samir Ranjan Dash said it has been observed that only 70 per cent students are attending physical classes after reopening of schools this year. The department has planned a strategy to ensure 100 % attendance of students in schools.

“As part of the strategy, the department will engage teachers, Sarpanches or School Management and Development Committee (SMDC) Presidents and women Self Help Group (SHG) members for a micro-level survey to be conducted to list out the dropout students. The teachers may also visit houses of the dropouts and discuss with their parents to know the reason of their absence from the school,” said the Minister, adding that the drive aims at ensuring 100 % attendance of students in schools rom the next academic session.

“Concerned authorities have been directed to submit school-wise report on absentees of the recently-concluded Matric examination within 10 days. The exact reason behind their absence from the Board exam will be ascertained once the report comes in,” he added.

The Minister also informed that though the state Government has curtailed the summer vacation to 11 days, schools will remain closed on May 16 and May 30 for Budhha Purnima and Savitri Amavasya, respectively.

Earlier yesterday, the department wrote a letter to all district Collectors appraising them of the said strategy for dropouts.

Quoting an analysis on daily attendance provided by District Education Officers(DEOs), the department said,” attendance of students from Class-I to Class-V in districts like Malkanagiri, Boudh, Gajapati, Sambalpur, Nuapada is less than the state average. In case of attendance for Class-VI to Class-VIII, the performance of districts like Malkanagiri, Boudh, Sambalpur, Nuapada is also less than the state average. In Secondary Wing, performance of districts like Gajapati, Balangir, Bargarh, Sonepur, Nuapada, Cuttack, Khordha, Koraput, Ganjam, Boudh, Malkangiri, Keonjhar, Sambalpur is less than the state Average. The overall attendance of Higher Secondary classes is abysmally low in Gajapati, Sonepur, Baragarh, Kandhamal and Nuapada districts, which is matter of concern.”

“During review meetings conducted by the department, it is observed that many students passing out from Class-VIII are not taking readmission in Class-IX and they might be dropping out. Special care will be taken to get them admitted at secondary level in the nearby school,” the letter read.

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