Keonjhar: In a significant initiative, the Keonjhar administration has decided to provide free textbooks, uniforms and midday meal (MDM) to Classes-IX and X students of the Government and aided schools in the district.
The provisions would be available to the students from this academic year under the District Mineral Foundation (DMF).
Besides, scholarships ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 40,000 would be provided to Class-X students based on marks secured in the annual Board of Secondary Education (BSE) examination.
The objectives of the initiative are to prevent dropout of students after Class-VIII, address their nutritional needs during adolescence, encourage them to successfully complete their schooling cycle and support them financially to pursue higher studies after Class-X.
“It is seen that out of every 100 children in the district who enroll in Class-1, less than 60 of them successfully manage to continue their studies after Class-X. One of the key factors for the high transition loss is the sudden withdrawal of support provided to students in the form of free textbooks, uniforms and midday meal after Class-VIII,” said a communique issued by the district Collector.
The scheme would be implemented at a cost of Rs 22 crore per annum under the DMF. The initiative would benefit about 50,000 students of Classes-IX and X every year.
“In a socio-economically backward district like Keonjhar, where more than 55% of the population belongs to the SC and ST, the initiative is expected to transform secondary education in the district in the coming years,” the communique stated.