Special education drive launched in Kandhamal

Berhampur: A special education drive has been launched in tribal-dominated Kandhamal district to ensure 100 percent enrolment in schools.

The campaign, Shiksha Ka Haq Aabhiyan, will encompass all primary schools in the district and is being taken up by members of Gaon Shiksha Parishad (GSP), a committee headed by the school management head, official sources said. There are 1,937 primary schools (except schools for the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe welfare department), they said.

The committee members, comprising panchayat members, educated youths and volunteers, are motivating parents to enroll their children in schools and asking them to ensure the regular attendance of their children in schools, Kandhamal district collector Rajesh Prabhakar Patil said.

The special temporary drive, launched on Monday, concided with another move to appoint "Shiksha Sathis" in schools in interior areas of Kandhamal district in a bid to enhance the retention rate of tribal students in primary classes, sources said.

Youths educated up to middle school (Class VIII) and fluent in tribal Kue and Odia language would be appointed as Shiksha Sathis by the school management committee for a period of 10 months in a year with a montly honorarium of Rs 1,000.

The expenses for the initiative will be borne from the funds of Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), said a senior government officer.

The district administration has shortlisted 186 schools initially, mostly in Baliguda and Phulbani blocks, where the siksha sathis will be appointed, said sources.

Besides teaching the children of Class I and II, the shiksha sathis will act as interpreter between students and teachers of the schools, Patil said. The shiksha sathi will track the students and mobilise them and their parents. They will motivate students to attend school.