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Mrunal Manmay Dash

The once-famous Maharaja Sanskrit school in Jeypore is reeling under government apathy and the handful of students enrolled seldom step inside the campus.

The sad reality of Odisha’s Sanskrit education has not only saddened the intellectuals but it has also dented the Mass Education Department’s claims of quality education for all including the poor.

The situation has deteriorated so much that the educationists have started demanding closer of the school if the department cannot handle it.

“Dr Gangadhar Nanda, a Jeypore based academician said, “The school did not have a roof for so many years. There is only one class room that too is in a dangerous condition. The school should be closed as soon as possible and the teachers should be transferred to other schools.”

The Maharaja Sanskrit school, as the name denotes, was established by the then King Vikramdev Verma at Jeypore in 1938. The school earned its name by producing many scholars who went on to bring accolades for the State and Country. But, the quality of education as well as the infrastructure is now in shambles as only 42 students are studying in the school which has a total strength of five teachers.

Yes, five teachers for 42 students, making it just over eight students for a teacher. While it looks promising on paper, it is actually not. Because the numbers of students in the attendance register is literally a number and in reality a lot of those have never stepped inside the class room.

When OTV caught hold of one of the students, Bajarangi Gadwa, a class-10 student of the school according to the attendance register, his answer not only startled the correspondent, it made the sorry state of affairs split wide open.

“I never went to school. I do not know the name of the school but I am a student nevertheless,” Gadwa said unperturbed by OTV’s questions.

Similarly, another student, Koushalya Bisoyi too was unable to name the school she is reading in. The reason being, they have neither attended any class nor the administration have ever tried to make the future of our country attend school regularly. The sheer apathy of the administration and school authorities has made students and their parents look away from the Sanskrit education system. Whatever students come to the school, they are forced to sit on the floor and read from a limited number of books without basic infrastructure.

Madhaba Chandra Hota, the Head Acharya (in-charge) of the school said, “Only students with a liking towards Sanskrit language come to study here. And the number is very thin. We are trying to bring new students, but the environment and the mentality of the parents towards Sanskrit education has been a major hindrance in doing so.”

Ramachandra Nahaka, the District Education Officer of Koraput said, “The attendance can only increase if there is an interest for Sanskrit education.”

Earlier, the school had classes from class six up to class 10. But in 2019, class six and seven were abolished and the school was left with only class 8, 9 and 10.

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