BHUBANESWAR: Even as opposition Congress and BJP members came down heavily on the State Government for the deplorable condition of school and higher education system in Odisha, the ruling BJD on Monday claimed that several initiatives taken by the Government have enhanced the access to quality of education.Highlighting some of the measures taken by the State Government, School and Mass Education Minister Badrinarayan Patra told the Assembly that 9,943 primary schools and 11,008 upper primary schools have been opened in inaccessible areas under Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan since 2001. The Government is determined to provide access to education to primary school children within one km and upper primary students within three km from their habitations.
“Odisha is one of the leading States in implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2010. Focused attention has been given to achieve universialisation of school education by ensuring 100 per cent enrollment of children in the age group of 6 t 14,” Patra said while replying to discussion on demand for grants of School and Mass Education department in the Assembly.The Minister said the State Government has made a provision of `5o crore under the ‘Mo School’ campaign to promote and facilitate volunteerism among people in general and old students, in particular, to give back to their alma maters. The Government will provide funds two times of the donation received from individuals for putting up a science lab or library, provide scholarships and promotion of sports in schools, he said.
Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra and Congress Chief Whip Taraparasad Bahinipati lambasted the Government for the large scale vacancy of teachers in schools and colleges and the deplorable condition of education system in the State. They said the education system has totally collapsed and the Government was doing preittle to improve the situation. Citing examples of some of the colleges in Balangir districts, Mishra said the vacancy level in those institutions are more than 50 per cent.
Leader of BJP Legisalture Party KV Singhdeo and his party colleague Pradip Purohit also criticised the government for doing nothing while a large number of colleges teachers are on the streets for more than two months demanding full grant-in-aid.Annual budget of the School and Mass Education and Higher Education departments for the current fiscal were passed through voice vote.