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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Even as the Odisha government pats its own back on the transformation of government-run schools in the ‘Mo School’ drive under its much-touted 5T initiative, the reality seems to be far from encouraging.

From Umerkote to Puri, government-run schools under 5T are either biting dust under gross neglect or lurching under alleged corruption.

A look at the Government Upper Primary School in Umerkote and one will be forced to acknowledge the beautification works done on the outside premise of the school under 5T. However, the parents who were too optimistic about the future of their wards are left disappointed when classes and courses cannot be completed due to shortage of teachers and insufficient classrooms.

Speaking to OTV, Dillip Nayak, a resident of Umerkote and a parent, complained, “There are only 13 staff for so many students leading to non-completion of the course. My children are regularly complaining about shortage of teachers in the school.”

Coming back to the east-coast of the State, to Astaranga High School in the district of Puri, where the locals have alleged massive corruption in the construction and interior works which took place after the school was included in the 5T programme.

When one looks at the faculty members and other basic amenities, the school looks all set for building bright futures for its students. But the damaged wall and floor tiles, cracks in the school building and dismantling furniture have irked the locals suspecting widespread corruption in the construction.

Subodh Mohanty, a local of Astaranga told OTV, “The works undertaken here are substandard and have not been done as per the estimate. We want the works to be completed as per the estimate and the corruption should be unearthed with the responsible officer facing trial.”

Similarly, the Garadama High School in Mohana under Gajapati district is allegedly reeling in sheer negligence. The students of the school were reportedly forced to study under a tree in the absence of sufficient classrooms. Students of Class I to V are attending their classes in a single room. The snail’s pace of construction work undertaken under the 5T has rendered many students roofless for study.

Pertinent to mention here that the Odisha School and Mass Education Minister Sameer Ranjan Dash had provided the data in the State Assembly where he had stated that a total of 4555 schools have so far been included in the 5T Transformation programme. About 4323 5T Schools in Odisha have a shortage of 8553 teaching and 6048 non-teaching staff.

Dash told OTV, “We are conducting developmental works under the 5T programme. The issues in some schools which have come to fore will be resolved through task force which have been constituted by the department.”

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