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Odisha govt to identify out-of-school children; bring them to residential hostels

by Manmath Nayak

With an effort to give the best education to the children in the state and to reduce school dropout rate, the Odisha government on Monday asked all district collectors to identify out-of-school children and admit them in different residential schools run by the government.

As per the state government directives, the identification process by the district collectors should be completed by August.

According to a survey, 3649 number of out-of-school children are there in the state, who need to be admitted to schools.

“Apart from these, there are many vulnerable children whose educational need has not yet been addressed by Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan due to lack of proper identification and mainstreaming,” B S Poonia, state project director, Odisha Primary Education Programme Authority (OPEPA), was quoted as saying by a news agency.

He said that these children can be identified and mainstreamed through 1400 hostels run by the SC and ST development department, 182 KASTURBA Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas and 16 residential hostels for urban deprived children in the state.

District collectors were asked to follow the methods like that of Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts where campaigns such as ‘Mu Bi Padhibi’ and ‘Asa Padhiba Abhiyan’ helped in bringing down the number of out-of-school children substantially.

To check school dropouts and out of school children of migrant families, seasonal hostels have been set up in districts such as Baragarh, Balangir, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Cuttack, and Khurda.

The target groups of vulnerable children between 6 to 16 years include dropouts, never enrolled, orphans, single parent, children of destitute and migrant families, children of access less habitation/ interior pockets, children working in dhaba, eateries, brick kiln, garage, domestic helps, rag pickers, children engaged in begging and manual scavengers.

The OPEPA has also prepared a guideline for the districts and asked the authorities to form committees to address their educational needs and issues.

“This work should be undertaken in a mission mode to make your district free from vulnerable out-of-school children,” Poonia wrote to the collectors.

A team comprising teachers, school management committee members, Anganwadi workers, Panchayati Raj members will visit the houses of the out-of-school children of each habitation and village, and will make them aware of different residential hostel facilities and entitlements for free and compulsory education.

“Sometimes the children face difficulties to take admission in ST and SC Development department schools due to non-availability of caste other documents. In such cases the district administration will issue an instruction to admit the children by keeping an undertaking for submission of birth certificate later,” he added.

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