Are Naveen’s Odisha Students Falling Behind?


-Subhalaxmi Dash

Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has been leading a stable government in the state for 24 years. Since last year, the state government has been working towards ‘Naveen Odisha’. This initiative is particularly focused on educational institutions. The uniforms worn by school children have been changed. In central schools, students have been given uniforms in various colors. High schools have been included in five different schemes. Colleges have also been conducting programs under the ‘Naveen Odisha’ banner, with substantial funds being spent. Despite these new facilities, questions arise about how much the state’s education system has really improved.

The Board of Secondary Education (BSE) has published the matriculation examination results in a completely different manner this year. While the board used to announce the results in the presence of the media every year, this tradition was changed this year. No information has been released by the board regarding how many students scored above 90% and achieved A-1 grades, or how many students are in A-2, B-1, and B-2 grades. It is speculated that the performance of students has decreased, which might be why the results were not announced through a press conference.

Disappointing Examination Results

In the 2023 matriculation examination, 4,158 students in the state scored 90% or above, achieving A-1 grades. However, the number of students achieving A-1 grades in 2024 has not been disclosed. It is estimated that the number has dropped by over 75%. For example, in Cuttack district, 604 students scored A-1 grades in 2023, but this year the number has fallen to 150. In Jagatsinghpur district, 93 students achieved A-1 grades in 2023, while this year it has dropped to 29. In Kendrapara, the number of A-1 grade students fell from 112 in 2023 to 31 this year. In Subarnapur district, only 25 students have secured A-1 grades.

Efforts to Match Central Schools

The state government is striving to match the standards of central schools. They have established model schools following the central school format, even providing similar uniforms. However, they have not taken exemplary steps to offer the same quality of education as central schools. In the CBSE 10th examination, many students score above 90% and become state toppers, whereas the results of Odisha board students raise concerns that they might fall behind in further admission processes.

Students Losing Hope

Similar to previous years, this year’s matriculation results have left many students dissatisfied. In Jajpur district, after the results were announced, Pragnan Kumar Panda from Badabirua village allegedly hanged himself with his mother’s saree. Pragnan was worried after scoring a C grade in the matriculation exam. In Mayurbhanj district, shortly after the results were announced, another student attempted to end his life. Rajesh Singh from Purunapani village consumed pesticide after being shocked by his D grade. He had expected higher marks but only managed to secure 242, which placed him in the D grade. Rajesh was immediately taken to Baishinga hospital in critical condition and later transferred to Balasore district hospital due to the severity of his condition.

Subhalaxmi Dash,

MA English with Communication Studies, Christ University, Bengaluru Yeshwanthpur Campus.