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Fund threat to literacy centre

Bhubaneswar, June 10: The state government’s indifferent attitude is threatening the future of the Centre-funded State Resources Centre for Adult Education in the city.

With the state government not adhering to the human resources development ministry’s guidelines regarding the appointment of a regular director, the Centre has threatened to stop funding to the organisation.

The human resource development ministry, which regulates the affairs of the centre, is upset that the state government did not follow its directives in appointing a regular director selected by the special governing body of the organisation.

The ministry had asked the state government to appoint a regular director, underscoring that the absence of one since June 2012 had been affecting the organisation’s functioning. The 11-member special governing body of the centre, of which school and mass education secretary Usha Padhee is the chairperson, were to finalise a name for the post of director.

The governing body had shortlisted three persons for the post. During verification of documents it was found that the person who was number one in the list was an MBA degree holder. His degree was not equivalent to a postgraduate degree. Subsequently, he was disqualified.

The ministry asked the state government to appoint the second choice candidate. Instead of appointing a full-time director, the state government gave the charge to a joint secretary of the school and mass education department.

“This is in complete violation of the guidelines and proceedings of the special governing body meeting,” a letter from the ministry informed the centre. The ministry also threatened to stop flow of funds to it unless the decision to give charge to the joint secretary was reversed.

The centre is responsible for providing literacy support in the form of supplying model teaching learning materials and organising training programmes for the district literacy centres and various non-government organisations across the state. The centre has been working in the state for the past 28 years.

The centre is supposed to carry out the “Saakshar Bharat Programme” in the state’s 10 districts, including Kalahandi, Balangir, Sundargarh, Mayurbhanj, Angul, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Nuapada, Sonepur and Deogarh, where the female literacy percentage is below 50 per cent. At present, the campaign remains confined to a few pockets of Kalahandi, Balangir and Sundargarh. The newly appointed school and mass education minister Debi Prasad Mishra said: “I am new to this department. I will look into the issue.”


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