Odisha Devises Strategy To Bring Back School Students Dropped Out During Covid Pandemic

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Government has devised an ambitious strategy to bring back all the school students who have dropped out due to various reasons during the Pandemic in the last two years. The School And Mass Education Department has written a letter to all the Collectors of the state outlining the strategies in order to bring them back and increase the attendance.

In the letter to the Collectors, Principal Secretary Bishnupada Sethy has said that “We have already lost 2 years of Academic Activities due to pandemic situation arising out of COVID-19. After normalcy was restored, steps were taken by Government to reopen the schools and due to heat wave situation, at present the classes are running from 6.00 a.m. to 9.00 a.m. with cooked MDM food being supplied to eligible beneficiaries (i.e., from Class-I to Class-VIII).

He said that, the Department is also monitoring the school attendance figure (Block wise) which is being uploaded by your office in the prescribed tracker. On analysis of the daily attendance figure provided by the District Education Officers, it is seen that about 70 % students are attending the classes. However, on detailed analysis the figure, it is seen that the attendance in Class-I to Class-V in case of districts like Malkanagiri, Boudh, Gajapati, Sambalpur, Nuapada is less than the State Average.

Similarly, in case of attendance for Class-VI to Class-VIII, the performance of districts like Malkanagiri, Boudh, Sambalpur, Nuapada is also less than the State Average. In the Secondary Wing, the performance of districts like Gajapati, Bolangir, Bargarh, Sonepur, Nuapada, Cuttack, Khordha, Koraput, Ganjam, Boudh, Malkanagiri, Keonjhar, Sambalpur is less than the State Average. The overall attendance in Higher Secondary classes is abysmally low in Gajapati, Sonepur, Baragarh, Kandhamal, Nuapada which is matter of concern.

He also states that, “the above figures lead us to believe that thorough analysis has to be made to know the whereabouts of the absentee students. It may so happen these students who are not attending the offline classes might have dropped-out/ moved out along with their parents/ lost interest in academic activities due to non-continuance of the teaching schedule due to the pandemic situation and many other reasons, which need analysis. In course of Review Meeting conducted by this Department, it is observed that many students passing out from Class-VIII are not taking readmission in Class-IX and they might be dropping out. Special care has to be taken to get them admitted at Secondary level in the nearby schools.

The Department has devised a location specific strategy to bring back the students to the classroom. The following strategies may please be adopted and if any other innovative ideas are adopted, it should also be shared:

1. A micro level survey may be conducted at the school level to list out the students who are not coming to school.

2. The junior teachers who are posted in schools may be sent to the houses of the absentee students to know the reason of their absence from the school.

3. These junior teachers should also motivate the students and their parents to send their ward to the school and explaining the benefit of sending the student to school and steps taken by Government to provide Free Books, Free Uniform, MDM and Scholarship to students, Bicycles etc.

4. If required, the help of Members of SMC/ SMDC/ PRIs, WSHGs may be taken and community level activities to be initiated in this regard.

5. The benefit of Learning Recovery Plan (LRP) must be explained at every level including the students.

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