New Delhi, Jan 23: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday issued a notice to the Odisha Government over reports that a large number of government-run primary and upper primary schools were allegedly closed due to a shortage of students.
The NHRC has also sent a notice to the Ministry of Human Resource Development, asking it to look into the issue to check this replicating trend in different states, and give a response in eight weeks.
A report, carried on January 21, has raised the issue of the Right to Education (RTE) of the young students, mostly belonging to poor families of the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and other backward communities.
The NHRC, in a statement, said, “It has issued the notice through the chief secretary of Odisha, quoting a media report that ‘a large number of government-run primary and upper primary schools have been closed in the state due to less number of students’.”
The Odisha government was given eight weeks time to respond with a point-wise reply to the issues.
The commission has observed that it appears that the government schools are lacking basic amenities, and the number of teachers is also not adequate.
“Opening of private schools cannot be a solution for the shortcomings being faced by the students and the parents in the government schools. There seems to be an extreme need for thorough study of the entire scenario by taking into confidence all the stakeholders to build a healthy environment of education at the primary and upper primary level to tackle the menace of dropouts,” the statement added.
Reportedly, in 2016-17, as many as 828 government primary and upper primary schools were shut down in Odisha for having less than 10 students each.
In 2014, a total 195 schools in the state with less than five students were served show cause notices by the government.
The students and the parents, reportedly, preferred residential schools, which have the facility of hostel and food for the students, it said.
According to the media report, in the past year, the highest 124 government schools were closed in Rayagada district.
Even the residential schools do not have an adequate number of teachers due to which a large number of students preferred the private schools, it said.
“According to the media report, another matter of concern is the growing number of private schools in the state. Unlike, the government schools, the private schools send vehicles for the children and have better logistics than the government schools,” the commission also stated.
The issue needs to be addressed timely by the state as well as the Union government, it said.
The commission had last December issued a notice to the Maharashtra Government over reports of the state education department closing down the Zila Parishad schools with less than 10 students and shifting them to other nearby schools. (ANI)
This is published unedited from the ANI feed.