Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government will soon close over 6,300 schools with less than 20 students across the state as part of its rationalisation and consolidation policy for schools.
Of the total 6,340 schools facing closer, the maximum numbers (498) are in Rayagada district, followed by Mayurbhanj (486) and Ganjam (430) districts.
These schools will be merged with nearby government schools through a participatory process in view of the less number of enrolments and lack of infrastructure in these schools, according to a notification by the School and Mass Education (S&ME) Department.
The primary objective of this exercise is to improve the learning environment and outcomes for students. This will be achieved by streamlining and increasing teacher per grade, with better infrastructure and concentrated investment of resources, the notification said.
Similarly, 5,177 primary schools across the state which have 40 or less students will also be shut down and merged with nearby schools at the equivalent level.
Mayurbhanj district has the most number of such schools at 448, followed by Ganjam (423) and Kendrapada (314).
The notification also informed that the Right to Education Act will be strictly followed during the consolidation process. If the lead school distance is beyond 1 km, escort/transport allowance as per RTE norms will be provided to the student.
The S&ME Department has further directed the schools to transfer the students to the identified Lead School by the start of the academic year 2020-21, i.e. from April 3, 2020.
Every student of the satellite school who will be consolidated with another school will be provided a one-time Facilitation Allowance of Rs 3,000, on their admission to the lead school.
Besides, all teachers/Head Masters/Staff (including mid-day meal cook) of satellite schools will also move to the lead school without any change in their service conditions.
However, the government has decided not to merge grant-in-aid schools, Madrasas and Sanskrit Tols, S&ME Minister Samir Ranjan Dash told the media.
He also informed that henceforth, there will be four categories of schools in the state. The first category will have classes from I to V, the second from I to VIII, the third from I to X and the fourth category having Class XI and XII.