High Schools to be higher secondary schools in Odisha

Odisha government plans to upgrade 100 high schools to higher secondary schools as a measure of social development.

Odisha government plans to upgrade 100 high schools to higher secondary schools from the next academic session to contain the dropout rate, a measure of social development.

School and mass education minister Samir Ranjan Dash said the steps to upgrade schools would be carried out in the blocks where higher secondary schools exist.

“Students often tend to drop out after passing matriculation either because many schools do not have Plus II or due to the absence of colleges nearby. Upgrading schools to higher secondary by including Plus II will also benefit girl students,” said Dash. As per the latest data available, the dropout rate was 16.06 percent in Odisha as against the national average of 16.1 percent.

In 2020-21, more than 49,000 students had dropped out of school before entering the higher secondary level, including 15,792 tribal and 11,045 students from the Scheduled Caste category. A survey by the Women and Child Development department found that 7,717 adolescent girls (in the age group of 11 to 14 years) had dropped out of school in the 2021-22 academic session. In 2019-20, 8,168 students dropped out after secondary school. Dash said apart from benefiting the students, the move would play a significant role in containing the dropout rate in the state.

The move to upgrade these schools comes amid criticism from different quarters for the high dropout rate. The state government came under criticism from several quarters following reports that over 43,000 students abstained from appearing for the matriculation examination conducted this year.

A five-point program was then mooted to bring back these students to schools. Under the plan, teachers are required to undertake door-to-door visits and hold discussions with the parents and students. The move aimed at convincing the parents to send their children to school.