Pradeep Pattanayak

The latest initiative by Odisha government to impart free NEET, JEE coaching to meritorious students from the State with the help of ed-tech major, Unacademy, has prompted serious speculations among the learned elite about the fruition of its objective especially in the light of a massive failure of the government in executing such a coaching drive for Civil Services aspirants.

As per a revelation made by Higher Education Minister Arun Sahoo in reply to an unstarred question by MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik in the Assembly, the State government has spent a whopping Rs 2.42 crore on training meritorious Civil Service aspirants for three years at eight universities in the State but none of them could crack the competitive examination. 

What more is that the Higher Education department doesn’t have year-wise records of students having benefited by the project.  
When contacted, Laxmikanta Mishra, the former coordinator of Civil Service Coaching Centre in Ravenshaw University, corroborated the minister's statement saying none of the students who underwent coaching did qualify in the CSE prelims.

The possible reasons behind the failure of the noble project now seemed to have baffled educationists and experts alike. 
Similarly, the coordinator of Civil Service Coaching Centre at Utkal University, Smita Nayak said, “A proper assessment of the scenario will be made during the training of the January batch of students so that the inherent faults can be rectified through feedback.”
Question arises whether it the failure of the project was due to lack of foresightedness or the gap between the announcement of the project and its execution and if preparation of a blueprint was extremely necessary before its launch. 

Amid such a picture, Odisha government on Monday announced another project to provide free coaching to 1,000 meritorious students a year for NEET, JEE entrances.

The failure of free Civil Service coaching has however led many to raise doubts about the success of another project. 
Netaji Tapas Kumar Sahu, a student did not hesitate to term such free coaching projects as lollipops offered to students by the government only to win elections. 

According to Kriti, another student, the government should instead take steps to improve morale of the students and engage more faculties.
Kamalaprasad Mohapatra, a noted educationist of Odisha opined that educational projects are launched but they remain limited more to pen-and-paper than result on the ground level. 

"The responsibility of making these projects successful entirely rests on the concerned officials and there should be direction from the government to make the project launch successful. This way, they will be answerable," said Mohapatra.