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Odisha survey reveals 56% children have not attended any classes post-pandemic

By Our Representative
 
The Learning Recovery Programme (LRP) has been taken up by the state government's Odisha School Education Programme Authority (OSEPA) to provide a learning opportunity to students to make up for losses in studies due to the closure of schools on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, lack of awareness among children and their parents and absence of robust monitoring have blocked its effective implementation, reveals a pilot fact-finding study conducted by the NGO Atmashakti Trust.
The pilot study was conducted with school-going children in two blocks of the Nuapada district, where over 500 grassroots workers divided into 33 groups visited 68 schools in one day and interviewed 115 children to understand the implementation of LRP.
The study was a part of its 26-day nationwide campaign, "Education Cannot Wait. Act Now!" which kickstarted on November 15, comprising Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, where they will interview over 4,000 students from 2,000 schools to understand the effectiveness of learning recovery programs in these states and share findings to state governments for making their learning recovery program successful.
Out of the total 115 students interviewed, 54% do not know about LRP, 56% have not attended any class, 39% of students reported that the baseline assessment had not been conducted, 55% of students said that LRP has not yet started in schools, and 38% of students complained that they had not received any materials on LRP.
"LRP was something we had demanded before the state government to address learning gaps of children who could not get it due to prolonged school closure. However, the result of the pilot fact-finding report is shocking. If this is the result of the study in only two blocks of Nuapada, this can be an alarming trend to be looked after," said Ruchi Kashyap, executive trustee of Atmashakti Trust, the organization which conducted the study.
The absence of an effective monitoring system at the district and block level and lack of mass awareness among children and their parents limit end-users benefits of the scheme, she added.
In May this year, the state government stated in its report that 30% of students are not returning to school after classes resumed and the overall attendance in higher secondary classes was abysmally low in Gajapati, Sonepur, Baragarh, Kandhamal, and Nuapada. And, Nuapada district reported the highest number (896) of school dropouts.
Following this, the Odisha government's apex body OSEPA announced the start of a 3-months long Learning Recovery Programme (LRP) in 55745 government and government-aided schools in the state for students of classes 3 to 9 in September 2022.

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