Over 900 Odisha schools to be shut down; students to get transportation allowance

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government today decided to shut down all schools with less than 10 students. Informing about the decision, School and Mass Education Minister, Samir Ranjan Dash said that the students of the affected schools will be accommodated in the nearby schools and all travel expenses of students arising due to such change  will be borne by the State government.

According to Dash, the government has already identified 966 primary schools across the State having less than 10 students.

The students in these schools will be accommodated in nearby schools, for which the process has started. The State government will provide transportation allowance if the distance exceeds one kilometer.

As per the decision, a student will be entitled to get Rs 6,000 annually (Rs 600 per month for 10 months) if his/her attendance is more than 75%.

Similarly, Rs 4,000 will be provided to students having attendance between 50% and 75% and Rs 3,000 for attendance between 30 and 50%. No transportation allowance will be provided if the attendance of a student is less than 30%.

The transportation allowance will be directly credited to the bank accounts of the parents of the concerned students, Dash added.

Senior officials informed that all the primary school teachers of the affected schools will be engaged in other schools. This will be helpful in overcoming the vacancies of teachers in several schools across the State, informed sources.

“Earlier also, irregularities were seen in mid-day meal scheme as students used to remain absent from schools but attendance were up to date. The same condition will continue even now,” said a parent from Balasore.

Citing concerns over the development, Prakash Mohanty, general secretary of Odisha Secondary School Teachers’ Association (OSSTA) said, “If the government shows this kind of attitude then schools will have to be shut down in several parts of the State and the education will become hard for students.”