“Revitalizing Education in Odisha” – Bishnupada Sethi – Principal Secretary, School & Mass Education


Bishnupada Sethi, a distinguished alumnus of the National Institute of Industrial Engineering and one of the venerable mandarins in Odisha, is anchoring the transformation of the education system. In his new avatar as the Principal Secretary of School & Mass Education, Mr Sethi is leading a wave of transformation laced with efficiency in sync with the Odisha government’s avowed 5T governance paradigm.
His thrust is not only on modernizing the education machinery but also on purging the system of its flaws and inadequacies, like his recent drive against ragging at a city-based school. He recently wrote to the principal of Sainik School in the city to prevent ragging in the academic institution.

“It has come to my knowledge that the practice of ragging of junior students by the senior students of your academic institution is going on where students are subjected to mental and physical harassment,” said Sethi in his letter to the Sainik School principal.
He further stated that ragging is in complete violation of the Anti-Ragging Act 209 and subsequent Acts and Rules stipulated by the Centre and states.
Mr Sethi is also galvanizing efforts to enhance the quality of education under the ‘Mo School’ programme. Plans are afoot to organize a ‘Mathematics Mela’ for students of high school and upper primary schools to develop interest among the students in the subject.
According to officials from the School and Mass Education (SME) department, after the 35th executive council meeting of the Mo School campaign chaired by SME secretary Bishnupada Sethi, the Mo School Abhiyan has collaborated with the Institute of Mathematics and Applications, Bhubaneswar. According to officials, the collaboration will also assist schools in developing mathematics teachers. In the near future, mobile science exhibitions will be organized for students.
To develop scientific temperament among students and teachers, the Mo School Abhiyan has partnered with the Odisha Bigyan Academy and Regional Science Centre. According to officials, regular scientific workshops and training sessions are also conducted for students and teachers.
An acclaimed man of letters, Bishnupada Sethi was conferred with this year’s State-Level Santha Bhimaprabha Samman at a function organized by the Santha Kabi Bhima Bhoi Sahitya Parishad at the Sarala Bhawan in Cuttack on Sunday.

Sethi, serving as Principal Secretary to the Government of Odisha, is known for his literary creations. Some of his published poetry collections are Where Shall I Go, My World of Words, Beyond Feelings, and Beyond Here.

Bishnupada Sethi – Principal Secretary, School & Mass Education

Bishnupada Sethi – Principal Secretary, School & Mass Education

An ardent follower of Mahima Dharma, the IAS officer has extended help for the development of Bhima Bhoi Samadhipitha Khaliapali in the Subarnapur district. His articles on the saint poet and his poems speak volumes about his versatility as an author.
Sethi was awarded the Bhima Bhoi Sruti Samman for this work in 2018. He also received Bhima Bhoi Award for his contribution to popularising Mahima philosophy in Odisha.
In his capacity as Higher Education Secretary, Sethi decided to set up a chair at Gangadhar Meher University (GMU) in Sambalpur in the name of Bhima Bhoi to carry out interdisciplinary research, including literary creations and ‘Dalit’ literature.
Mr Sethi recently raised concerns about the absenteeism of Class X students. He ordered a probe into the absence of 43,489 Class X students in the annual High School Certificate (HSC) exam 2022 conducted by the Board of Secondary Education (BSE).
He asked the district education officers (DEOs) to find the reason behind the large-scale absence of the students in the exams. He directed them to make a school-wise analysis and submit the report within 10 days without fail.
In a letter to the DEOs, Sethi stated that the absence of such a vast number of students in the exams, especially in Mayurbhanj, Ganjam and Balangir, where the number of absentees are highest, is a matter of concern.

“It is supposed that these students must have appeared in the Summative Assessment-I examination and done the physical form fill up. However, it is not understood how despite doing the form fill-up work, they remained absent from physically appearing in the Summative Assessment-II,” he pointed out.
Sethi received his professional education from the National Institute of Technology, Rourkela in Mechanical Engineering and then a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Mumbai, India. He joined the Indian Administrative Service and worked as District Collectors of Sonepur, Nuapada and Rayagada districts. He also worked for the United Nations Development Programme and other assignments successfully.

After serving an uninterrupted stint as the director of Census Operations, Sethi was assigned the additional responsibility of the fisheries & animal resources department in October 2013. Since then, his commitment has been spot on.

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