Odisha revisits School Merger Plan; Approves Proposal for Two New Medical Facilities

The School and Mass Education department of the Odisha government put out a clarification on Monday regarding the merger of schools. The clarification stated that elementary and secondary schools having enrollment less than or equal to 15 students in the Scheduled and KBK areas and those having less than 20 in other areas will be merged with schools nearby, regardless of the distances.

A notification issued in March mentioned merging of schools that had an enrollment of 20 or less with nearby schools in the Scheduled, KBK, as well as other areas. The issue of low enrollment being a major concern, the School and Mass Education department had earlier identified around 14,000 schools having an enrollment of 20 or less for their merger with nearby schools in the State.

It had initiated the process for closure of around 7,700 elementary and secondary schools in the first phase, of which, around 900 schools have already been shut. This move is facing some protests from the parents association members as well as opposition political parties claiming that it would cause inconvenience to the students as they would require to travel bigger distances to reach their schools.

Apart from the merger of schools, the Odisha government also approved a proposal to set up two more medical colleges in Puri and Jajpur, costing approximately Rs 651.10 crore.

As mentioned by the Finance Minister, Niranjan Pujari, a private construction entity will carry the project of a 600-bed government medical college and teaching hospital in Puri, and a 500-bed medical college and teaching facility in Jajpur.

The construction is supposed to be completed within three years on a turnkey basis. The state has also announced plans for a state-run medical college and teaching hospital in Kandhamal, and a 650-bed teaching hospital for the existing medical college in Koraput.

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