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Odisha education minister defends merging of schools, LoP alleges failure of govt

Odisha education minister defends merging of schools, LoP alleges failure of govt

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Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], November 23 (ANI): A day after Odisha Assembly erupted in a huge ruckus over a government decision involving over 7000 schools, School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash on Sunday said that the state government is trying to improve the teaching environment and impart quality education by merging schools with fewer students.
However, Leader of Opposition (LoP) Pradipta Nayak alleged that the government failed to run the schools in the state.
Dash said that schools in scheduled areas with less than 15 students will be merged with another nearby institution, while in non-scheduled areas, the exercise will be carried out if the student strength of a school is less than 20.
"There are 14,382 schools having a strength of less than 40 students. However, the process of merger of 7,772 institutes is being carried out. In doing so, the state government is only trying to improve the teaching environment and impart quality education," said Dash.
He added that the decision on the merger of schools in the scheduled areas was revised after a four-and-a-half-hour discussion in the Assembly.
"It has been decided to merge schools with a student strength of less than 15 and not 20 as it was decided earlier. Even MLAs can suggest to me in writing which schools should not be closed. They can give their grievances in writing to the respective collector and other officials of the concerned areas," he added.
LoP Nayak said that he is not satisfied with the answer of the minister in the Assembly.
"Education is the fundamental right of a child and you cannot close a school. They (BJD) are in power for the last five terms and still, they are unable to run the schools. The Opposition will raise this issue again in the House," he said.
Earlier on Sunday, Dash rejected the allegations raised by the Opposition that over 14,000 schools will be closed in the process of merger and said that the figure is 7,772. The Naveen Patnaik-led government is making efforts to overtake 7,722 schools to improve education in the state, he said.
The Assembly was adjourned eight times Saturday. (ANI)

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