New Delhi, Jan 23 (PTI) The NHRC has 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 shortage of students.
The rights panel 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.
The 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 National Human Rights Commission, in a statement today 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 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.
The Odisha government was given eight weeks 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,” it observed.
“There seems to be 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,” it added.
Reportedly, in the year 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 the year 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 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 added.
The issue needs to be addressed timely by the state as well as the Union government, it said.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.