Teachers Peeved At Odisha Govt’s Call To Close Over 1000 Aided High Schools

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Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Secondary School Teachers Association (OSSTA) has come down heavily on the decision of the state government to close down more than 1000 aided high schools in the state.

Reacting to the decision of the state government, OSSTA general secretary Prakash Chanda Mohanty said that the Directorate of Secondary Education has sent a draft proposal for the closure of 5045 schools, including 1350 fully aided and 3695 newly aided schools on the basis of their infrastructure, student strength and examination results.

On the basis of the draft report, the state government is all set to come up with a notification in this regard.

Stating that more than 1000 aided high schools will be shut down if the proposal is carried out in letter and spirit, Mohanty said that the Directorate in its proposal has not given any relaxation for the girls’ high schools, the high schools in the educationally backward districts and border areas.

He said that the state government has resorted to an anti-education policy of late, referring to its earlier decision to close down about 15,000 primary schools. Following protests from parents and guardians, political parties, it revised its decision and now it has decided to close down about 7000 primary schools instead.

He said that the efforts of the state government to close down the aided secondary high schools, upper primary schools, Madrasa and Sankrit tolls will not only severely affect school education but also repeal the grant-in-aid policy formulated by former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik.

Mohanty said that the state government, before implementing the draft proposal of the Directorate, has to ensure the following:

—All schools to be taken over by the government

—Ensure service conditions and post-retirement benefits for the teachers

—Exclusion of first and only school in the panchayat from the merger with other nearby schools

—Special provisions for the girls’ schools, schools in the educationally backward districts and those in the border areas

—No permission be given for the setting up of private schools near the government schools

—No opening of the upgraded schools in any panchayat that have the government schools

—Rehabilitation of the teachers and employees of the closed schools in the nearby government schools after the merger.

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