Student enrollment declines in Odisha primary schools

Bhubaneswar: Despite various programmes including Mid-day Meal, free textbooks and uniforms, the student enrollment is still declining in primary schools across Odisha.

Around 9,127 children have never stepped into schools, while the number of student dropouts is 33,000 so far in the state.

Reviewing a meeting on Thursday, School & Mass Education Minister Badri Narayan Patra and Secretary Ranjana Chopra expressed concern over the decline of student enrollment and rising number of student dropouts in the primary schools.

Although, a special admission programme had begun in April to register more admission in the schools, it did not work out. In view of the situation, the department has decided to restart the campaign from August 15 till 31.

According to a survey report, 9,127 have not been enrolled in the schools, the number of students dropped out of the schools midway is registered 13,230, education of 19,299 students was disrupted due to relocation.

Especially the children in the tribal districts — Nuapada, Balangir, Malkangiri, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Boudh, Mayurbhanj and Kandhamal have not attended the schools.

On the other hand, the students are yet to get their free uniforms even one month after their classes after summer vacation. The uniforms have been sent to only eight districts. Only 40 percent students have been provided the dresses in some districts so far.

Chopra directed the Block Education Officers (BEOs) to provide the school uniforms to the students by first week of August.

Sources in the department said that free text books have been distributed to all the schools by third week of July. In a bid to avoid any possible difficulty to occur in distribution of text books within scheduled time in academic session 2018-19, the department is aiming to print all the books by December 2017, said Primary Education Director Chudamani Seth.

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