CAG raps Odisha government over elementary education

Bhubaneswar, Aug 28 (IANS) The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has rapped the Odisha government for lack of oversight towards elementary education in the state.

“Despite spending Rs.23,193.60 crore, the state of elementary education remained poor mainly due to lack of oversight by the department, deficient planning and poor implementation of the provisions of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009,” the CAG said in its audit report on ‘Elementary Education in the State’ from 2009-14.

The report, tabled in the state assembly on Friday, said planning remained deficient due to non-preparation of perspective plan, non setting of monitorable targets to fulfil the standards of infrastructure and availability of teachers.

“Grant of permission and recognition to non-government primary and upper primary schools remained inefficient and ineffective as 1,544 such schools were unauthorisedly functioning in the state as of March 2014 though RTE Act did not permit running of any unrecognised schools,” the report pointed out.

It further said that as of March 2014, 1,226 eligible habitations did not have any primary school within one kilometre while 201 habitations did not have any upper primary school within three kilometres.

“While enrolment at elementary stage decreased from 66.21 lakh in 2009-10 to 63.88 lakh in 2013-14, enrolment in government-aided schools decreased with corresponding increase in enrolment in private schools during 2009-14 indicating failure of government-aided schools to attract students to these schools despite interventions like Mid-day Meal (MDM) Scheme, free supply of uniform and text books,” said the report.

It said quality of elementary education in the state was affected, as 3,440 to 8,739 schools with 1.79 lakh to 3.88 lakh students were having single teachers during 2009-14, while 2,558 teachers posts in science and mathematics remained vacant for years.

Besides, under-qualified teachers were continuing in primary schools (20,471) and upper primary schools (936) and were not made professionally qualified despite the timeline set under RTE Act being over since August 2014.

Basic infrastructure like classrooms, toilets, facility for safe and adequate drinking water as per scale prescribed in RTE Act, was not made available in schools though the required timeline expired in August 2012, it was found.

While 33,499 to 50,400 posts of teachers remained vacant during 2009-14, rationalisation of vacancies was also not done.

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