The School and Mass Education department of the Odisha government today issued show cause notices to 195 schools having less than five students on their rolls asking them to explain why they should not be closed down.
School and Mass Education minister Debi Prasad Mishra, however, informed that the course of action will be decided only after replies to the show cause notices are received.
Mishra said students of the schools which are ultimately shut down will be accommodated in other schools within a distance of 2-3 km from them. Similarly, teachers of these schools too will be transferred to nearby schools.
Sources in the department said the move had been initiated after it was found that some schools had five or less than five students on their rolls for years at a stretch, which posed several problems for the government.
The government is facing problems in providing teachers, mid-day meals and other logistics as per provisions of the Right to Education Act, which provides for free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14, sources revealed.
Of the 195 schools served the notice, 19 are in Rayagada dsirtict alone, 11 each are in Gajapati and Ganjam districts, 10 each in Kandhamal and Sundargarh, nine each in Khordha, Koraput and Puri, eight each in Jagatsinghpur, Sambalpur and Sonepur, six each in Bolangir and Boudh, five each in Angul, Baleswar, Bargarh and Mayurbhanj, four in Cuttack, three each in Bhadrak, , Jajpur, Kalahandi, Malkangiri and Nayagarh, two each in Dhenkanal, Jharsuguda and Keonjhar and one in Deogarh, sources in the department said.
The Odisha Primary Education Project Authority (OPEPA), on the basis of the information from the District Information System of Education (DISE), has asked the project coordinators of Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan in all these districts to verify the details and submit a proposal for closure of these schools by September 10, the minister informed.