NHRC pulls up Odisha govt. over closure of schools, gives 8 Weeks to respond

Written by Sabrangindia Staff | Published on: January 27, 2018
In 2005, the Indian government passed the Right to Education Act (RTE) to achieve the goal of free and universal education. However, most state governments have shown a lack of will to implement this. After Maharashtra, Odisha has followed suit in closing down public schools. In 2016-2017 alone, as many as 828 government primary and upper primary schools were shut down in Odisha. In the year 2014, a total 195 schools in the State with less than five students were served show cause notices by the government.  Instead of making public education system accessible to all and improving the facilities, the state governments are competing with each other to close down these schools.

Odisha School

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued a notice to the Government of Odisha following media reports of the shutting down of these schools. Raising the issue of Right to Education of young children especially from marginalized backgrounds such as Scheduled castes and tribes, NHRC gave the State Government a time frame of eight weeks to respond to the issues raised in the media report by ‘The Hindu’ on January 21, 2018.

The major observations made by NHRC were that the government schools lack basic amenities and that the number of teachers is not adequate. The Commission said that the opening of private schools can’t be a solution for the problems being faced by students and parents in the government schools. It also stressed the “extreme need” for thorough study of the entire picture by taking into confidence all the stakeholders which will help in building a healthy environment of education and tackling the issue of dropouts.