RTE Facing a Fatal Blow in Orissa

The recent closing of primary schools in Orissa have been a major policy setback to Indian education and the future of our children.

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Once a scholar said “To educate a child is to turns walls into doors” but when it comes to Orissa it becomes opposite. At this juncture of modernity when governments are fiercely advocating to provide best education Odisha has taken a path seldom travelled putting a question on the policy enactment at the ground level. The time when the state officials need to heighten up state literacy rate of 73.5% (According to 2011 census) which is below the national average (74.04%), it is shutting down the doors of schools in a rampant way. In 2016-17, more than 800 government primary and upper primary schools have been shut down. Reasons was that these schools have less than 10 students. Quite ironical! Neither Odisha has 100% literacy and nor economically rich, very surprisingly, it has to shut down its’ schools just because of the less number of students.

While this sad devastation is widespread in the whole state of Orissa, Rayagada and Kandhamal districts were the worst sufferer as 124 and 101 schools were shut down respectively. According to Binodini Panda, District project coordinator, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, another 268 such schools have already been identified for closure in Rayagada, and are awaiting formal approval. Even though a circular by Odisha Primary Education Program Authority stated that geographical barriers are valid to re-open schools but Mr. Panda clarifies that so far as the re-opening goes “There are no schools for reconsideration in Rayagada”.

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Is this not direct violation of the Right of Education? Where have the policy-makers gone wrong? What are the flaws in the education policies?

Some are some of the reasons and excuses:

  • Abysmally less number of students
  • Absence of infrastructure (Overcrowded class at few places)
  • Absence of teachers in schools (Who is responsible?)
  • Sprouting of private schools (Sprouting due to worst quality delivery by govt. schools)
  • Geographical Unsuitability (A lame excuse)
  • Offering boarding schools (Kids living in hostels just because they do not have schools in their neighbourhood!)
  • Overwork of teachers (Except delivering knowledge they are doing everything!)
  • Low payment of teachers (Reason cited for their absence!)
  • Alarming Student-Teacher Ratio (Do we have lack of qualified professionals?)

A million-dollar question arises – how could these short-comings be overcomed so that the future of our nation couldn’t be in the grave darkness? Education, a birth right, a basic but most important public service, should be delivered without any excuse or citing any lame reasons. Can’t policymakers ensure our children the fundamental right of education when most of the fundamental rights are at the mercy of socio-political agendas? The Policy Times urges policymakers the following improvements:

  • Conviction to educate cent percent children inspite of just achieving the 100% literacy target
  • Opening of schools in each and every village either it is the Himalayan region or Thar Desert
  • Appointing of qualified persons as teachers from the village itself
  • Setting of committees for the evaluation of teachers on monthly basis
  • Creating the complete infrastructure of school inspite of just completing the norms
  • Organising of various extra-curricular activities in order to match the standards of private schools
  • Issuing of ample paycheque to teachers in order to keep them motivated
  • Surprise inspections by the higher authorities

Only when we achieve to deliver this, we can only achieve dream of a beautiful India where every child is educated in true sense and the nation will have a bright future.

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