Orissa HC quashes state notification on 11560 primary schools over low enrolment

Orissa HC quashes state notification on 11560 primary schools over low enrolment


  • More than a year after the Odisha government ordered closure of around 11,560-odd primary schools due to low enrolment, the Orissa High Court on Tuesday quashed the notification.

By Debabrata Mohanty

PUBLISHED ON MAY 04, 2021 08:18 PM IST

More than a year after the Odisha government ordered closure of around 11,560-odd primary schools due to low enrolment, the Orissa High Court on Tuesday quashed the notification.

Disposing several writ petitions in this regard, HC judge BR Sarangi directed the state to restore back the position of the schools as before, and provide necessary infrastructure for smooth running of the same. The HC in March had stayed the govt notification.

In March last year, Odisha school and mass education department had ordered closure of more than 11,560 primary schools in the state with student strength less than 20 to improve the learning environment and outcomes for school students.

The move termed “Consolidation and rationalisation” under Niti Aayog’s Sustainable Action for Transforming Human Capital in Education (SATH-E) project was being implemented in around 8000-odd schools in Odisha with student strength less than 20. Those schools were merged with nearest schools called Lead Schools over last few months.

For a Primary school, a nearby Primary (I-V)/Upper Primary (I-VIII/VI-VIII)/ Secondary (I-X), was identified for consolidation. Similarly for an Upper Primary (I-VIII/VI-VIII), a nearby Upper Primary (I-VIII/VI-VIII) or high school (I-X/VI-X) was identified for the merger process.

The state government in its notification had said that the consolidation would make schools aspirational for students and result in improvement of Pupil-Teacher Ratio. “There would be better infrastructure facilities, better academic environment with additional TLM facilities, e-Learning and co-curricular facilities. This will also improve learning and teaching time available to teachers and students through reduction in administrative burden on teachers,” the notification said.

The move was opposed by several organisations including All Utkal primary Teachers Federation who alleged that the consolidation move would ruin the education system in Odisha. “The same government which allowed the schools to open in villages is shutting down the schools. Instead of improving the infrastructure, the government is just hell-bent on closing the schools,” said the Federation.

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