The Odisha government is contemplating slapping closure notices on 573 high schools that sent less than 20 candidates for this year’s annual High School Certificate (HSC) examination.
While no student appeared for the examination from three schools, eight schools had only one candidate each.
Incidentally, all three schools with zero representation are run by the government. These schools are are Government Upgraded High School, Jaleswarpur in Cuttack district; Ekalavya Model Residential School, Dhanghera in Mayurbhanj; and a residential school operating under the Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes department at Kodipari in Rayagada district.
Government-run schools constitute a majority of these 573 schools. Despite having good infrastructure and teachers, 492 government schools failed to attract enough students.
The rest of the schools include aided, unaided and block grant schools.
Many of these schools are located in the forested and tribal-dominated districts like Koraput, Rayagada, Gajapati, Sundargarh and Kandhamal.
During the last examinations, 57 schools with less than 20 candidates were located in Koraput district, followed by Rayagada (69), Gajapati (44), Cuttack (27), Sundargarh (25) and Kandhamal (25).
“We are considering either closing down or merging the schools with the nearest one for healthy enrolment. However, precautions will be taken to keep at least one high school in one panchayat,” said Ratnakar Rout, Director (Secondary), School and Mass Education Department.
Meanwhile, School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra on Thursday informed the State Assembly that not a single student had passed the HSC Examination 2015 from 41 schools in the State.
A majority of these schools are government-run. Similarly, 63 schools reported pass percentage less than 20 per cent in 2015.