To deal with falling attendance in government schools in the state, the Odisha government announced it will close down 966 schools where student strength is less than 10 and shift them to “nearby” schools.
In order to incentivise students and parents, the government will also offer an attendance-linked transportation allowance.
Students who enrol and achieve a minimum of 75% attendance will be given Rs 600 per month transportation allowance for 10 months in a year. For attendance between 50%-74%, the allowance will be less — Rs 400 a month. For attendance between 30%-49%, the same will be Rs 300 a month.
Teachers in state schools expressed their disapproval of such moves. “The government had set up these 966 schools after looking at certain needs. Now, they are shutting them down,” said Saroj Kumar Panigrahi, the vice president of the Odisha School Teachers Association.
“Also, there is no guarantee that the parents will use the money to send kids to school,” he added.