Hostel Facilities Under Anwesha for Needy ST,SC Students Nullifies Rural-Urban Divide

Bhubaneswar : Residential schools to provide free education and hostel facilities have added quality of life in readying the tribal students to face the challenges of the careers and the world, but the Urban Education Programme – “Anwesha” has become a game changer of sorts, as it ensures quality education to ST and SC students from remote rural areas, in the best of English medium educational institutions located in urban areas, to nurture their inherent talent.


Helping the tribal kids in joining in the path of competitiveness and excellence, “Anwesha”, now in operation in 17 districts across Odisha have enrolled 22,340 students in 163 schools and 98 hostels so far. Since its inception in 2015-’16 till date, originating from a pilot project named “Creation of Urban Hostel Complexes and Exemption of Tuition Fees for ST, SC students to study in public schools” in the past, in two Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) of Berhampur in Ganjam, 220 students were studying in Class-I to Class-IX under the scheme in the very first year. It helped to fulfil the ambition of poor parents, who cannot educate their kids in public and schools due to unaffordable cost. Secondly, creating hostels to accommodate students from remote pockets and provide an ecosystem to nurture young talents was another major feature of this flagship venture. Initially launched for five years (FY 2015-16 to 2019-20), it was further extended by five years (2020-25) with a cost of Rs 569.90 crore. Selected through a lottery system, the ST,SC students are taken with a ratio of 70:30 and boys and girls were in equal proportion, only from BPL households.


For the “Anwesha” hostels the ST,SC Development Minorities and Backward Welfare Department has introduced subject teachers in Mathematics, English, and Science, in addition to the existing set of tutors. The basic concept of tutors was to work as “after-school mentors” for betterment of the ST,SC students as the concept was to nurture young minds with confidence of English medium education. So to supplement the effectiveness of the tutors, the subject teachers are hired for the students. Each functional Urban Education Complex can have three teachers in the above-mentioned subjects to meet the growing educational needs of the children. Narendra Minz, father of Sourav Minz said “my son is staying at Urban Education Complex, Kirei square in Sundargarh is staying in “Anwesha” hostel since Class I and this year he entered Class IX. This unique programme has given us all which we never imagined in our life. The authorities are taking care of everything and my son is doing well both in academics and extra-curricular activities.”


Ramesh Beheramajhi, father of Lizarani Beheramajhi said “my daughter is staying in an “Anwesha” hostel in Phulbani and everything is taken care of by the authorities and my family is not worried at all as my daughter has found the environment of a “second home” there. From study materials to health and well-being the children staying in the hostels are looked after well. A wellness grant of Rs 200 per child per month is also helping the grown-up girls.” It can be mentioned here that the students staying in “Anwesha” hostels are given a menu to choose from for various week days for the breakfast, school tiffin, lunch, snacks and dinner. Operational in districts like Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Kalahandi, Ganjam, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Nuapada, Sambalpur, Bolangir, Bargarh, Sundergarh, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, deogarh and Angul, “Anwesha” covers 8825 ST boys, 7884 ST girls, 2901 SC boys and 2730 SC girls.


The ST,SC Development Minorities and Backward Welfare Department has introduced many noble ideas like subject-specific teachers, and sports and recreation grant of Rs 40,000 each hostel to provide indoor and outdoor game equipment to engage the kids during leisure hours and helping in building the team spirit. Under the indoor games Chess, Ludo, Snakes & Ladders, Table Tennis, Badminton, Scrabble, Puzzles and Carom are the favourites among the kids. In order to provide better study habits and posture, each child now has access to a foldable study table to maintain upright body posture while studying and avoid long-term health issues and improve concentration. “These initiatives under Urban Education Programme – “Anwesha” in its long-term effect creates a base for healthy ST and SC students with smart body and mind so that they do well in the CBSE/ICSE Board examinations and our Department tries to fulfil its mandate to provide free educational opportunities to the talented, but needy boys and girls, who come from the remotest corner and shine like bright stars through their upbringing in the ecosystem run by the scheme,” feels Commissioner-cum-Secretary Roopa Roshan Sahoo.

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