Image credit: DNA India

The closure of schools with severe lockdowns during the pandemic had a significant influence on the education of millions of youngsters in India.

Now, it has been revealed that nearly 30% of pupils in Odisha have not returned to school despite missing two consecutive academic sessions owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the state government reopened schools and began verifying attendance sheets, the disturbing pattern became apparent. Bishnupada Sethi, the Secretary of State for School and Mass Education (SME), spoke out against the matter, saying that pupils were not attending school despite the government providing a noon meal and establishing a learning recovery plan.

According to the daily attendance figures provided by the District Education Officers, around 70% of pupils are present in class.

“However, a closer review of the statistics reveals that in districts like Malkangiri, Boudh, Gajapati, Sambalpur, and Nuapada, attendance in Class I to Class V is lower than the state average,” Bishnupada Sethi was quoted as saying.

 According to Sethi, the pupils may have been left out owing to a lack of interest in academics or because they moved out with their parents.

According to the SME department, secondary school attendance is lower than the state average in districts such as Gajapati, Balangir, Bargarh, Sonepur, Nuapada, Cuttack, Khordha, Koraput, Ganjam, Boudh, Malkangiri, Keonjhar, and Sambalpur.

Similarly, in Gajapati, Sonepur, Baragarh, Kandhamal, and Nuapada, general attendance in higher secondary schools is relatively low.

These appalling findings came after the State Government implemented a Learning Recovery Plan (LRP) to assist pupils in regaining their lost learning. To make up for the lost learning time, the state government cut summer vacation short and changed school hours from 6 a.m. to 9.00 a.m.

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