Mrunal Manmay Dash

Koida in Sundargarh district, famous for its mining activities, assuming the status of the 'mining capital of Odisha', is struggling with the increasing rate of drop out of students from schools.

As per reports, 400 students drop out of different schools in Koida every year.

Rich in minerals, the Koida block in the district has the worst road communication in the district. Notwithstanding the fact that the district of Sundargarh has a sizeable District Minerals Foundation (DMF) fund, the education system in Koida seems to be in shambles.

Lack of awareness among parents, absence of teachers in schools in the tribal dominated areas and pathetic road condition makes it difficult to complete High School education for the locals.

A parent of a girl student in Koida said, “The school is around 3km away from my village. I did not allow my daughter to go that far every day alone. Besides, the Coronavirus pandemic has also forced us to keep her at home.”

Amulya Pradhan, the District Education Officer of Sundargarh said, “There are approximately 6000 students who are out of school since last two years. The pandemic induced lockdown has forced them to stay indoors.”

Earlier, the School and Mass Education Minister Sameer Dash had furnished a data as per the Extended MIS 2019-2020 report that a total of 8,168 students have dropped out of schools across Odisha in 2019-20.

As per Dash’s statement, 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.

Speaking to reporters, Dash said, “Hostels in the backward regions were closed during the lockdown. Students who left hostel during that time are not interested to come back.”