Atabira (Bargarh), Dec 5:
The failure of the state government to properly implement schemes for the education of Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) students threatens the closure of the only residential school for STs in Bargarh district.
The future of 64 students of this school has become uncertain as the school has not received any government grant.
Situated at Kandapali village, the school is managed by an NGO Moonlight Club of Santhapada in the Gandia block in Dhenkanal district since 1998.
As per the norms set by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, an ST residential school to be managed by an NGO is mandatory in each district.
The ST school, being run in a rented house in Bargarh district, has capacity to house 100 students, But only 64 students, of which 40 are boys and 24 girls, are enrolled in the school now.
Boarding and other expenditures of the students of this school, having classes up to standard V, are borne by the Centre on the basis of the report of the District Social Welfare department.
Talking to OST, Director of Moonlight Club Bishnu Charan Rout informed that the school had not received any assistance in the last two-and-half years due to the gross apathy of the district administration.
“The District Social Welfare authorities, in their customary report after visiting the school early in the academic session, have cited inadequate infrastructure of the school and poor attendance of the students. The district administration has also become grossly apathetic towards the plight of the school and its students,” Rout pointed out.
“We have decided to close the school after the half-yearly examinations after December 5 this year since we are unable to bear the expenditure of the students anymore,” he added.
He lamented that the district administration, instead of making efforts for quality education, and overseeing the safety and health of the students of the school, has been trying to close it down. “This is most unfortunate,” he said.
While thinking persons in the district have expressed grave concern over the imminent closure of the school, question has arisen as to where the students of this school would go after it is closed, reports said.