Statewide campaign on education and health from 5th November

Bhubaneswar: A month-long statewide campaign on education and health will be launched on 5th November by the people’s collectives (Lok Sangathans) Odisha Shramajeebee Manch (OSM) and Mahila Shramajeebee Manch, Odisha (MSMO) and will cover 12 lakh households from 66 blocks of 17 districts of the state.

The campaign named “Shiksha Swasthya Ama Adhikar, Jabab Dia “Mo Sarkar” aims to raise awareness among masses on their rights and entitlements especially on health and education by conducting meetings, organising cycle and bike rally, performing street play and storytelling, engagement with PRI Members, MLAs, and MPs to highlight the gaps in RTE implementation, school closures and failing state of healthcare in Odisha.

The campaign will also focus on the state government’s #Mo Sarkaar initiative, which is mandated to provide service with dignity to people who are coming to government offices for different purposes with a T5 approach, to respond to our campaign demands.

“This month-long campaign will witness active participation of nearly 10000 people across the state representing from the Sangathans, civil society organizations and PRI Members. The first phase of campaign will run in the district level till 14th November through Bike rally and second phase of the campaign will be run through cycle rally where delegates from the district level will travel to Bhubaneswar for the culminating event on 10th December where the huge gatherings will raise their demands before the government”, said President of MSMO.

Why this campaign kick started?

The state of public education and healthcare in the state of Odisha is despicable and showing no signs of improvement due to government’s apathy and lack of public pressure.

If we talk about education, less than 7 per cent of schools of the state are compliant with RTE norms after 10 years of implementation of Right to Education Act 2009. There are 306 schools where there is no school building. The state government has also closed down 966 schools where the student strength is less than 10 in the current academic session which is a gross violation of the RTE Act.

According to the Niti Ayog’s School Education Quality Index (SEQI) report, not a single school in Odisha has adopted the transparent online transfer system for school teachers. Nearly 25 per cent elementary schools in the State failed to meet the teacher norms mandated under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

The ‘equity’ stands greatly hampered as not a single school in the State has provided aids and appliances to Children with Special Needs (CWSN). Guess the enormous advantage that the school children would have if all of these schools were to fulfil the compliances of the Act fully.

Similarly, failing healthcare state of Odisha is also worrisome and need immediate intervention.
The state requires 6688 doctors in PHCs but has only 1,326 sanctioned posts of whom as high as 409 are lying vacant. There are 1094 doctors in position against the sanctioned strength of 1427 in district hospitals and 347 doctors against 567 posts in sub-divisional hospitals in the State.
For a state that grapples with poverty and has a large tribal population (62 tribes of 533 in India) bereft of health benefits, these incidents are symbolic of the structural and policy gaps that need immediate intervention.

Considering the seriousness of the nature of such issues in education and health in the state, a data-driven interactive scorecard with each district’s performance will be prepared to promote public awareness, to influence elected representatives where their districts were falling short and to influence the policymakers to act on it with immediate effect.

This apart, 1 lakh stories from the through postcard campaign and 1 million signatures will be collected from the community across 17 districts to seek response to improve worsening state of education and healthcare status in Odisha.

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