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Improving access to schools to improve girls’ enrolment and attendance Home>> What's New
Under the aegis of ‘Odisha Girls Incentive Program’ (OGIP) an innovative step has been taken to reduce the dropout rate amongst girls of SC and ST community.  To improve access to schools, the girl students of classes 8 and 9 of Bissamcuttack block in Rayagada district were given free bicycles on December 23, 2014 as a part of the Safe Transport Pilot (STP). Shri Lal Bihari Himrika, Hon’ble Minister for SC & ST Development, officially launched the one year pilot of providing safe transport facilities to the students by distributing bicycles and cheques. The girls who were not given the bicycles were given a cheque equivalent to the market price of the cycles.

Apart from the Minister, the event was graced by Shri Ramesh Chandra Sai, Director (SC Welfare), SC &  ST Development Dept., Govt. of Odisha; Shri JagannathSaraka, Local MLA; Shri Premananda Rout, DEO, Rayagada; Shri BalramPatra, BDO, Bissamcuttack block, Rayagada; Shri Neela Madhav Hikaka, Chairman, Bissamcuttack block; Ms. Damyanti Pidhikaka, Vice Chairman, Bissamcuttack block.

During the launch, Shri Lal Bihari Himrika, cabinet minister, termed this initiative as a progressive step towards the bright future of the girls. He urged the girls to avail the scholarship and study hard. Shri Ramesh Chandra Sai, while motivating the students to avail this opportunity to be regular to school also acknowledged the efforts undertaken by DFID appointed technical team in implementation of the scholarship program and supporting the 9 and 10 class girl students of SC and ST community to continue their education.

On the eve of the launch, the high school girl students covered under the initiative took out a rally to create awareness about the safe transport initiative. Under this initiative, the team of DFID funded OGIP program is adopting different models to provide transport facilities to the girl students in order to provide access to school.

The aim of this experimental initiative is to understand the correlation between access to school and regularity, attendance and increasing drop outs. This is a vital step to understand the relationship between the increased and safe transport facilities to school as an alternative to residential schools to increase retention in the state of Odisha.

Once the positive relationship is established, the team plans to present its findings to the policy makers and will use it to advocate upscaling this initiative in all the other districts of Odisha where the ‘Safe transport’ initiatives are needed.

This initiative is part of the larger scholarship program ‘Odisha Girls Incentive Program’ (OGIP) being funded by DFID. Under the scholarship program, the SC and ST girls of classes 9 and 10 are given an amount of Rs.95, over and above the pre-matric scholarship, on a monthly basis to help them financially and motivate them to attend school regularly. The amount is transferred directly to the bank account of the students who have been regularly attending school and have maintained a minimum monthly attendance of 70%. The scholarship program is being implemented across all the 30 districts of Odisha.

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