ROURKELA: Plans are afoot to set up 13 more Ekalavya Model Residential Schools (ERMS) in Sundargarh district to provide quality education to tribal students. The district already has ERMS in four blocks.
Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, who is seeking his fifth term from Sundargarh Lok Sabha constituency, asserted that if he wins, his priority would be to expedite setting up ERMS in rest 13 blocks.
According to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, till August 2018, Odisha had 14 ERMS, including four in Sundargarh, with a total student strength of 5,340. Between 2014-15 and 2017-18, Odisha had received a total grant of `931.089 crore from the Ministry for the schools.
Jual said all the blocks in the country with more than 50 per cent Scheduled Tribe population and at least 20,000 tribals will have ERMS by 2022. The ERMS would be on a par with Navodaya Vidyalayas and will have special facilities for preserving local arts and culture, impart training in sports and skill development, he added.
Each new ERMS complex would cost about `25 crore with a provision for separate hostels for 320 boys and equal number of girls, besides staff quarters.
Administrative sources said the present ERMS are located in Lahunipara, Sundargarh (Sadar) and Rajgangpur blocks with Classes from VI to XII. Each class has an intake capacity of 60 and total strength is 1,140. The ERMS in Kuanrmunda block was made operational last academic year.