Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 20:
Though the Odisha government has decided in-principle to separate Plus-II from Plus-III and bring it under the school and mass education department, the modalities on bifurcation has not been finalised and the infrastructure isn’t ready yet, Higher Education minister Pradeep Panigrahy informed the Assembly on Thursday.
‘‘A meeting would be convened under the leadership of development commissioner. This apart, an inter-departmental meeting of school and mass education department and higher education department would be held soon. After this, the government would be in a position to tell the timeframe when the Plus-II and Plus-III would be completely split,’’ the minister said while replying to a question from MLA Anshuman Mohanty.
Members alleged that the government has separated the colleges on papers to avail grants under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan (RMSA), the Centrally-sponsored flagship programme for secondary education. However, many degree colleges have two managing bodies but one president.
The members sought a reply from the minister, whether adequate infrastructure is available for the colleges after bifurcation, the amount of money sought for this and on which projects these have been utilised.
In his reply the minister said, the state government had sought Rs 53 crore during 2013-14, Rs 95 crore in 2014-15 and an equal amount for 2015-16 financial years towards upgradation of infrastructure.
These funds will be utilised towards construction of infrastructure. A high-level meeting presided over by development commissioner was convened on January 29 and directives were issued to expedite the separation of Plus-II from Plus-III, the minister informed.
Notably, there are around 700 colleges in the state which offers both Plus-II and Plus-III courses. In addition to this, there are another 750 colleges which offers only Plus-II curriculum. The state government had initiated the move to bifurcate junior colleges from degree colleges as it was losing around Rs 100 crore grants annually under the RMSA. The junior colleges are eligible for the grants once they are dissociated from the degree colleges.