Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bhubaneswar: Amid all big talk on improving the overall education sector in Odisha, State Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash on Wednesday revealed shocking statistics one of which stated that as many as 90 schools in the State do not have blackboards to write.

Answering a query by MLA Umakanta Samantray in the State Assembly, Dash shed light on provisions of infrastructure and basic amenities in the State-run schools.

While 34394 schools don’t have their own toilets, 37,645 schools in the State don’t have playground, 2451 schools don’t have libraries and the most shocking answer of all was, as many as 90 schools in the state don’t have blackboards to write, Dash replied in the House.

In his debate speech, Dash said that the Annual Average Dropout rate in Primary schools in Odisha was 5.42% while it was 6.93% in Upper Primary, 5.41% in Secondary schools during 2018-19.

As per the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) guidelines, enrolment of two consecutive years has been taken into consideration for the calculation of annual average dropout rate. According to the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) data, at 11.67%, Rayagada district has the highest annual average dropout rate at the primary school level.

Similarly, Kendrapara, Kalahandi and Khurda districts have a primary school dropout rate of 8.93%, 8.46% and 8.19% respectively.

Continuing his statement, the minister said that various steps are also being taken to reduce the dropout rate in schools. That includes, observation of ‘attendance day’ in all schools, provision of residential hostel for urban deprived students, free text book and uniform for students of government and aided schools, separate toilets for girls and boys in schools, provision of transport allowance for students in far off areas etc.