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Opposition Attack On Closure Of Schools Continues In Assembly; Schools Being Merged Not Closed, Says Odisha Govt Chief Whip

Bhubaneswar: The major Opposition parties mounted their attack on the State government on the issue of closure of schools for the second consecutive day in the Odisha Assembly on Sunday.

While speaking on the matter, deputy leader of the Opposition Bishnu Sethi said the State government’s decision to shut down 11,000 schools will be a disastrous. Around 800 schools will be closed in Koraput district alone.

Sethi further questioned that nearly 11 lakh students register for the matriculation examination, but nearly 6 lakh students appear the examination every year. Why nearly 5 lakh students drop out in the state, he said.

“We will sit on dharna near the Odisha Assembly Speaker’s podium if the State government does not reconsider its decision,” said Sethi.

However, Government chief whip Pramila Mallick on Sunday claimed that the schools in the State are being merged, not closed.

During discussion on a motion in the House today, Mallick said that in some schools there are two teachers for eight students which is not justified.

However, the schools will operate if the enrolment of students increases during the admission process. Similarly, any kind of allegations or objections can be raised before the respective committees headed by concerned district Collectors, Mallick added.

Earlier on Saturday, the Opposition parties created ruckus in Odisha Assembly over the State government’s decision for the closure of schools.

Congress MLA, Tara Prasad Bahinipati even threatened to kill himself by slitting his throat in front of the Speaker. Later, he banged his head near the Speaker’s desk. “It’s a plan of the government to keep children away from their basic rights of education. They must rethink the closure decision,” Tara said

Responding to the allegations levelled by the Opposition members, School and Mass Education Minister had clarified, “There is no truth in the claims that 13000 schools would be shut down. Despite a poor student strength, we are running 300 schools keeping in view the interest of the students. Those that are being shut either face shortage of teachers or do not have proper classroom and infra facilities. The process to close 7772 primary and upper primary schools (Class 1-7) is underway.”

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