Though the Odisha government is making tall claims of spending a huge chunk of money for imparting quality education to students, the reality seems to be completely disappointing. Allegations of shortage of teachers and lack of infrastructure in government-run educational institutions are pouring in from across the State.
One of the glaring examples is Hilltop Degree College of Mohana in Gajapati district. The college is allegedly grappling with many problems including lack of infrastructure for years. And, if you go inside the girls’ hostel of the college, you will be invited by wild bushes and plants. The entrance gate and hostel premises have been surrounded by bushes and wild vegetation.
Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) had been roped in for the construction of the hostel. It started hostel construction work in 2016-17, but the agency is yet to complete its construction work. ITDA has failed to meet the deadline to hand over the hostel building to the college authorities.
Meanwhile, cracks have appeared in the hostel walls. Girl students, who live far away from the college, are facing inconvenience in the absence of a hostel to accommodate them.
Plus 3 student Sabitri Raita said, “My house is 22 kilometres away from the college for which I am facing a problem. Had the hostel problem been solved, I would not have faced such inconvenience.”
College Principal Subhakant Mohanty said, “More than five years have elapsed to the commencement of hostel construction work, but the proposed agency is yet to handover the hostel to us. Hostel construction is yet to be finished.”
Speaking on the allegations, Rakesh Sahu, assistant engineer of ITDA, said, “During the outbreak of Covid-19, the hostel was used as covid centre. We will hand over the property soon after completing its construction work.”
Another case in point is Khaladi Primary School under Udala block in Mayurbhanj district. The school has only one classroom to impart education to 70 students of five classes starting from Class 1. The school is being run by two teachers. Reportedly, two classrooms are in poor shape for which teachers are not taking classes in those rooms.
Lakhman Singh, parent of a student, said, “Shortage of classrooms and teachers are the main problems the school is going through. But the administration is yet to look into it.”
Expressing his helplessness, Girish Chandra Patra, headmaster of the school, said, “As many as 75 students from Class 1 to Class 5 are taught in a single classroom in the absence of adequate classrooms.”
Block Education Officer Ramakant Mahanta said, “I would look into the issue and brought it to the knowledge of departmental officers. We would soon sort out the issue.”