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Odisha Schools Unlikely To Reopen Soon, Govt To Announce New Programme: Minister

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Jajpur: With COVID19 pandemic showing no signs of abating, schools in Odisha, which have been shut down since the enforcement of nationwide lockdown in March, are unlikely to reopen soon for a new academic session.

State School and Mass Education Minister Samir Dash on Saturday explained that the situation is not apt right now to reopen schools. There are around 60 lakh students presently enrolled in Odisha schools out of which only 22 lakh have access to online education through various means be it Siksha Sanjog, Dakhyata or Madhu App, the minister said.

Due to poor internet, infrastructure and network facilities, a portion of the 22 lakh students are also facing problems in getting hassle-free online education. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been persistently engaging with PM Modi so that the DoT may take necessary ameliorative measures to address the situation, said Dash.

“But I am happy that my department is actively implementing e-learning in every nook and corner of the State or else we would not have seen pictures where children are forced to climb atop trees or even hillocks to get proper internet connectivity for their studies,” he added.

The minister informed that in order to reach the left out students, who are not able to access e-learning, the government has decided to begin Sikhya Sampark, a new programme under which teachers will be identified who will visit each village to impart education.

As far as reopening of schools is concerned, any decision regarding that can only be made after August 31 since the Central government has also directed to keep the schools and educational institutions shut till the period under the Unlock III guidelines, he said.

“From the uptrend of the Coronavirus cases, it seems we are moving towards peak but it will be foolhardy to think that the situation will completely normal in September. So the decision to reopen schools can only be taken after reviewing the condition in the month of September,” Dash told media persons after unfurling tricolour on the occasion of the 74th Independence Day in Jajpur.

He mentioned that since students have already lost a considerable time of the new session, the committee set up for rationalising the syllabus will soon come out with the revised course of the curriculum so that students can align themselves till the classes start.

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