ROURKELA: Sundargarh district administration’s bid to extend school education in English medium to rural students faces threat from fund crunch. Though the administration had decided to admit 500 SC/ST students from rural pockets in private English-medium schools in urban areas under the Urban Education Programme from 2015-16 academic session, logistics like accommodation for the children and transportation have not been put in place yet.
Initially, the administration targeted to enrol 700 students and later, brought it down to 500. To provide quality education to children from weaker section of society, the administration asked private schools to set aside 25 per cent of seats for poor children under the Right of Children for Free and Compulsory Education (RCFCE) Act.
District Welfare Officer SC Sahu said in response to their advertisements, around 600 applications were received from parents. “It has been finalised to admit 310 SC/ST students in 13 private schools of Rourkela and 182 students in eight private schools of Sundargarh town,” he said, adding that the children would be temporarily accommodated at available hostels and all costs including transportation would be borne by the Government. He said the administration is in the process of developing an Urban Education Complex.
Administration sources said for the entire exercise, an annual budget of `1.62 crore has been submitted, but fund allocation is yet to be made by the State Government.
Sundargarh District Education Officer (DEO) DC Behera said children would be entitled to free education and the administration would reimburse the costs incurred by respective private schools.
In May, Collector Bhupendra Singh Poonia had convened a meeting where representatives of 93 private schools were apprised of the district administration’s decision and RCFCE Act. They were informed that 500 SC/ST students would get admission in private schools of Rourkela city and 200 others in schools of Sundargarh town. It was also decided to explore possibilities for admission of 100 SC/ST students at Rajgangpur town.
■ Logistics like accommodation for the children and transportation have not been put in place yet
■ The district admn had decided to admit 500 SC/ST students from rural pockets in private English-medium schools in urban areas
Poonia said the initiative would go a long way in building quality human resources from disadvantaged communities with thrust at the primary level. He said the targeted seats have already been reserved and various modalities are being worked out. About delay in admission, Poonia said the selected children are being enrolled in various schools and if needed, special classes would be arranged for them to make up for the time lost.