BHUBANESWAR: The State Government on Thursday launched yet another initiative to retain students in lower primary schools by distributing 20 lakh free school kits during admission.
Besides, the State Government launched the ‘Ujwala’ scheme for learning enhancement of school children. Both the initiatives were launched by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at Unit-I Government primary school here on Thursday.
School kits will be provided to students of Class I, II and III across the State on their admission day. The primary aim of the initiative is to retain students after admission, School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra said.
The kits to be provided free of cost to students include a school bag, pencil, exercise copies, pictorial and other related materials. This will be besides school textbooks provided to students. The new initiative will cost the State Exchequer `40 crore per annum.
The Chief Minister also released the community diary on the occasion. The diary will contain opinions of school management committee members, parents and guardians of students.
While the Chief Minister launched the enrolment initiative here, the scheme will be launched in other schools during June last week and July first week.
Addressing the function, the Chief Minister said education is the most important right of a child. He called upon members of school managements, parents and guardians to cooperate with the Government to make both the initiatives a success.
Among others, Tourism and Culture Minister Ashok Panda, Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Patsani, Bhubaneswar MLAs Bijay Mohanty and Priyadarshi Mishra, Bhubaneswar Mayor Anant Narayan Jena and Secretary in School and Mass Education Department Ranjana Chopra addressed the function.
On the other hand, despite launching a number of schemes, enrolment in primary and upper primary (UP) schools has decreased.
Enrolment of students in primary and UP schools decreased by five per cent during the period from 2009 to 2014 whereas admission in private schools increased.
While students in primary schools decreased from 44.9 lakh in 2009-10 to 42.8 lakh in 2013-14, enrolment in UP schools came down from 21.3 lakh in 2009-10 to 21 lakh in 2013- 14. Admission of girl students in primary schools decreased from 21.8 lakh to 20.7 lakh during the period while the number of Scheduled Caste (SC) students also came down from 8.65 lakh to 8.06 lakh.