Odisha scores 7th in Niti’s School Index, fails in transparency

Sad, only 4 per cent secondary schools (class 8-10th) in Odisha have teachers in all the five core subjects viz English, Language, Science, Mathematics and Social Sciences. The State is ranked at the bottom along with Jharkhand.

Bhubaneswar: Even as Odisha has posted a quantum jump in the Niti Aayog’s School Education Quality Index (SEQI) to secure 7th rank nationally in 2016-17 from 13th in 2015-16, the State’s school education apparatus seems in dire need of CM Naveen Patnaik’s  5T booster dose.

The SEQI 2019 report has been released in New Delhi today.

Sample this. Not a single school in Odisha has adopted the transparent online transfer system for school teachers. Moreover, not a single school in Odisha has a headmaster chosen as per merit-based selection model. The only saving grace, the report observed, is Odisha claimed to have adopted a transparent online teacher recruitment system.

As ‘Transparency’ holds the high pedestal in CM Naveen’s 5T scheme of things, the slip-ups bare the lack of transparency in Odisha school education apparatus.

Reports from ground suggest massive money changing hands in transfers and postings. “There is a rate fixed for transfer and postings in the State. The rate hovers at around Rs 50,000 to  Rs 5 lakh depending on the rating of the school to which one will be transferred,” claimed  a senior OSSTA  (Odisha Secondary Schools Teachers Association) functionary.

Now, consider why Odisha failed to score big in overall performance ranking.

Only  4 per cent secondary schools (class 8-10th) in Odisha have teachers in all the five core subjects viz English, Language, Science, Mathematics and Social Sciences. The State is ranked at the bottom along with Jharkhand.

As per Niti’s SEQI report, the percentage of upper primary schools that meet subject-teacher norms in Odisha declined to  12.5 in 2016-17 from 17 in 2015-16. Here too, Odisha languished at second from bottom.

Still, nearly 25 per cent elementary schools in the State failed to meet the teacher norms mandated under the Right To Education (RTE) Act. In contrast, the proportion in Kerala and Uttar Pradesh stood at 5 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively.

Above all, only 5.4 per cent schools in Odisha have CAL (computer aided learning) as mandated under Sarva Shikshya Abhiyan (SSA).

Only 26.6 per cent secondary schools have computer lab facility in 2016-17 vis-a-vis of 35.4 per cent in 2015-16.

Similarly, in the indicator of ‘Equity access’, meaning the performance of weaker sections like SC, ST, OBC vis-a-vis General Categories, the score differences are on the higher side.

The ‘equity’ stands greatly hampered as not a single school in the State has provided aids and appliances to Children With Special Needs (CWSN) .

The significance here is RTE norms stipulate the provision of aids and appliances for every Child With Special Needs (CWSN). Under SSA and RMSA, there are funds earmarked for Inclusive Education. These funds are meant to assist schools in providing their CWSN with Individualized Education Program (IEP), aids and appliances and special education teacher resource support. In spite of the mandate, Odisha failed miserably.

What are the factors that bring in a quantum leap for Odisha? In the indicator of ‘Governance Processes Aiding Outcomes Category’, the State has notched up a massive 18.5 points improvement that had greatly boosted Odisha’s overall performance ranking. The category has the check-list of indices like student & teacher attendance, administration adequacy and training. The implementation of electronic attendance system and sophisticated digital database management system (SDMIS) gave a fillip to State’s ranking.

The balance-sheet  shows for the above major slip-ups Odisha scores an abysmal 30 per cent in the learning outcome domain indicator  of the SEQI. In the Infrastructure & Facilities for outcomes domain, Odisha’s score was just around 25 per cent.