Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: In a major development, Minister of School & Mass Education Samir Ranjan Dash today announced that all schools students in Odisha would be provided with free shoes and uniforms. He further said the department has decided to issue identity cards to the school students, in order to categorically identify them and also maintain a healthy decorum.

"Earlier only BPL category students were provided free shoes and school uniforms, which we feel gave rise to inferiority complex among those deprived of the facility. Now the government has decided that all school students will avail this facility. It will be implemented very soon," said Dash.

Refuting the buzz on change in school timings, the Minister said, "So far, no such decision has been taken on functioning of schools from 9:30AM to 4:30PM. Schools will continue to function in the usual timing of 10AM-4PM. Bhubaneswar BEO has written to schools about using mats in every classrooms and also utilise a part of the school funding for drinking water facilities."

The SME Minister who has been in action mode from the day he took charge, held that his idea of making surprise visits to schools and educational offices is mainly to strengthen and systematise the Odisha educational system. Dash stated the teachers have already been sensitized in this regard and that it's only a matter of time when the management will again fall into place.

Earlier in the day, when Dash made a surprise visit to Balianta BEO office, only two staff were present. He said, "I waited there from 10AM till 10:40AM and later found that the BEO was undertaking a school bag checking drive. Those who were absent have been served show-cause notices and the department has decided to deduct their one-day salary."