Bhubaneswar: As the nagging issue of State Government’s decision for closing down primary schools across Odisha was raised by Opposition in the Assembly today during the ongoing Winter Session, Speaker Surya Narayan Patro has given a ruling for clarification by the School and Mass Education (S&ME) Minister in the House soon.
Soon after the House assembled today, senior Congress MLA Taraprasad Bahinipati raised the issue by saying that the closure of schools infringes upon the fundamental right to education. He threatened that he would commit either self-immolation or slit his throat on the Assembly premises.
Deputy Leader of Opposition Bishnu Sethi (BJP) questioned on the fate of students and teachers if 14,000 schools are closed.
They all demanded a ruling in this regard from the Speaker and resorted to ruckus for which the smooth functioning of the House got affected and had to be adjourned repeatedly.
In his media reactions, Odisha S&ME Minister Samir Ranjan Dash said, “As decided at the all party meeting, a memorandum in this respect will be submitted to the Chief Minister. I hope, whatever problems are there will be solved.”
He argued, “The State Government never intends to close down any schools. As per the State Government’s letter dated 9.9.2020 issued, a grievance cell has been set up at the Collector level. Any aggrieved person can knock the door. There is no harm in continuing the schools facing problems. When the matter of below 10 students’ strength in 913 schools was there, we closed down 637 such schools whereas 300 more such schools with strength of below 10 students are still running today.”
He further explained, “Last year I was on my tour across the State. The concerned Collectors explained the reason behind the continuity of those enlisted schools. It isn’t a matter of 13,000 schools as being said, but 7,772 inclusive of primary and upper primary schools. Our main intention is to impart quality education to the students. Our Government is also serious about not having even a single student dropped out of school education.”
Justifying Government’s stand, the S&ME Minister contented, “It hasn’t been possible to provide those students even a class room and a class teacher. Suppose there are 15 students in a class room, but they all hail from Class I to Class V. How is it possible to impart quality education?”