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Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: Days after announcing to shut down 966 public schools across the state, School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash today paid a surprise visit to the Block Education Office in Unit-8 of Bhubaneswar to inspect the mechanism being followed in the office. The minister reportedly stayed there for around 45 minutes and asked the Block Education Officer (BEO) to furnish all documents and scrutinised them.

Following an inspection, Dash directed the BEO to take stringent action against all those staff who were absent during the duty hours. This apart, he has asked the BEO to gauge the standard of teaching in all schools and conduct frequent reviews whether classes are being conducted regularly.

"Many staff have not come on time. We have put a cross mark against their names in the register. As per government orders, teachers are not permitted to come here during office hours. Some who were present left after seeing me here. I have asked the BEO to see that the CRCs conduct classes in the first two hours and then leave for monitoring, when required. I am going to maintain a file on all these developments. As promised, the surprise visits will continue," said the SME minister.

BEO Sasmita Mali said, "Out of four persons who were not present, two are on deputation. The rest two will be served show cause notices for their delay in reaching the office."

Meanwhile, Congress leader Satya Prakash Nayak has criticised the government's move to shut down 966 schools with 10 or lesser number of students. "The quality of education is deteriorating in Odisha. As many as 40,805 schools lack electricity supply whereas 48,936 schools do not have computers. The State government has become an agent of the privately-run schools."

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