Mrunal Manmay Dash

A total of 8,168 students have dropped out of schools across Odisha after the institutions were closed as a preventive measure to stop Coronavirus from spreading among students in March 2020, informed the School and Mass Education Minister Sameer Dash on Wednesday.

Dash was replying to a question posed by Congress MLA, Tara Prasad Bahinipati who sought to know the exact figure of the school dropouts since the COVID induced lockdown forced schools to remain shut.

As per Dash’s reply, Nuapada district has reported the highest number (896) of school dropouts. Similarly, 681 students dropped out in Keonjhar and 603 in Khordha.

While Sonepur, Jharsuguda and Dhenkanal recorded school dropout numbers as 44, 46 and 48, respectively, the district of Boudh managed to restrict the number of dropouts to 21, the lowest in the State.

Dash furnished the data as per the Extended MIS 2019-2020 report.

As a measure to include the dropouts in the mainstream, the department has already directed the District Education Officers (DEOs) and the PD DRDAs to implement different schemes under the Samagra Sikshya Abhiyan, stated Dash.

On being asked whether the students are reluctant to go to school after COVID scare, the Minister said that no information to establish the assumption has been obtained by the department so far.

Earlier in March this year, Dash had informed the Assembly that the school dropout rate stood at 1.53 and 4.75 per cent, respectively, in primary and upper primary levels in Odisha for the academic year 2019-20.