Rayagada: At a time when an investigation is underway into the alleged absenteeism of students in HSC examination, attendance in schools across tribal dominated Rayagada district has dropped to unusually low levels, though there is significant drop in Covid-19 cases. A recent survey revealed that as many as 6,392 students (both boys and girls) are not going to school.
Many students are either scared of going to school or are being kept home by anxious parents due to the pandemic. The survey has revealed that at least 2,708 students of primary level are not coming to schools while 3,684 are not attending the high schools. Low attendance rates have created significant challenges for the administration to bring back the students to schools.
This has affected both teaching and learning in the schools. Absenteeism is highest in Kashipur block and lowest in Gudari block. With the rise in student absenteeism cases, the state government has directed the teachers to visit dropout students and convince them to return back to schools. “We are trying to reach out the students and parents.
But, there is a fear among the parents about the spread of the virus. They fear for their children,” Bijaylaxmi Pattnaik, headmistress of Rayagada-based Ex Board Bilingual School said adding that many boys have reportedly travelled to other states to work as migrants.
Similarly, assistant teacher Chandrasekhar Panda said that pupils are helping their parents in farming and other petty jobs. So, they prefer not to come to schools. “A special committee has been formed to attract the students back to schools.
Plans are afoot to bring back the students, who have gone outside the state to work as bonded labourers. Teachers are travelling to villages and encouraging students to come back to school,” Panda added. Meanwhile, the Education department has launched an ‘Awareness Rath’ that will visit all the 11 blocks in the district and spread awareness. “There are at least 1.80 lakh students in the district of whom 6,392 are not coming to schools after the pandemic. Efforts are being made to bring them back and impart proper education,” Rayagada Collector Saroj Kumar Mishra said.