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Pradeep Pattanayak

At a time when rise in school dropout rate put the Odisha government in a fix, the recently-published report of Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) has painted a grim picture of the State’s digital education. 

In order to keep education at pace with the changing times, the corresponding development in infrastructure required for digital education is must. But, according to the report of UDISE, Odisha is lagging behind. 

Out of total 67,020 government schools, only 8,615 schools have computers. While 84 per cent schools are devoid of computer sets, 97 per cent educational institutions are bereft of internet service. 

Worst, 73 schools don’t have piped water connection and 37 per cent schools are functioning without electricity. 

The educationists urged the government to provide digital education to students to enable the students to keep pace with the changing times. 

“This government has ruled for the longest period. Had it wanted to develop the schools, the pictures of the schools would have changed. At least, they would have had drinking water and electricity facilities. This is the reason why parents are opting for public schools,” said Krushnachandra Pati, president, Utkal Parents Association. 

“To strengthen digital education, the schools should have internet and electricity facilities and permanent teachers,” said educationist Amiya Mohanty. 

To get a clear picture of the state of the digital education, Badakhaman High School in Udla block of Mayurbhanj district can be taken as an example. 

Spending lakhs of rupees, computers were procured for the school. But the systems are gathering dust due to the school being devoid of internet facility. The condition of the schools in Balasore and Dhenkanal towns are no different either. 

“We have all the equipments starting from computers. But the irony is that we don’t have internet facility. This is why online education has come a cropper,” said headmistress of Badakhaman High School, Kalpalata Jena. 

Gokulananda Patra, headmaster of Mukhura High School in Dhankanal echoed the views of the headmistress. 

When contacted, Dhenkanal Collector Saroj Sethi said, “Internet problem is there in tribal, hilly and remote areas. We have requested internet service providers including BSNL to provide the facility in those areas. We will take steps to improve the situation in coming days.”

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