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NBU to monitor Sarva Siksha

Siliguri, March 22: Three experts from North Bengal University will monitor the implementation of the Sarva Siksha Mission in six districts of the region according to a decision taken by the state government.

The government has recently decided to involve four varsities and two research institutes to monitor the implementation of the centrally-sponsored scheme, said an official of the district SSM office at the Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad.

Calcutta University, Burdwan University, Vidyasagar University have also been involved in the job that entails providing expert opinion to the government on how to increase enrollment and curb the dropout rates of students at the elementary level (Classes I to VIII) in the state.

The Institute of Development Studies Kolkata (IDSK) — an autonomous centre of excellence in social sciences — and the Pratichi Trust (a body set up by Amartya Sen for research in health, education and gender inequality) are the two research institutes.

Earlier, Visva-Bharati and the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta were the two institutes appointed by the Centre to evaluate the success of SSM schemes in 20 districts of the state.

While Calcutta University will look after Calcutta, Howrah, North and South 24 Parganas, Burdwan University will supervise Bankura, Purulia and Burdwan and East and West Midnapore districts. IDSK and Pratichi Trust will monitor Birbhum, Murshidabad and Nadia.

“Three representatives have been selected from NBU,” the official said.

A meeting of the district officials with state education secretary Vikram Sen was held at Bikas Bhawan in Calcutta on March 6. “The meeting was convened to prepare the annual work plan. The work will begin from April and will be in co-ordination with the district SSM office,” said a member of the state SSM from NBU.

Sources at NBU said the state government wanted a pool of experts to provide suggestions that would ensure a high literacy rate in the state. “The representatives’ role basically will be to examine problems that prevent children from getting enrolled in schools. If they get admitted, what prevents them from continuing with their studies. The experts will offer suggestions on ways to retain the students in schools,” a source said.

The six north Bengal districts have different socio-economic background and the causes of illiteracy and drop outs in each case would be different. The university representatives would be engaged in finding out the reasons, the source added.

On the current situation of the Siliguri educational district, the SSM official said Kharibari and Phansidewa were the two educationally backward blocks in the district.

“However, the four blocks of the Siliguri subdivision along with the Siliguri Municipal Corporation area registered the highest enrollment of female students in the state in 2009-10,” he said.

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