With nearly 98 per cent of the 5.74 lakh students clearing the annual HSC examination this year, Odisha government has decided increase at least 20 per cent of the seats in higher secondary schools that recorded 100 per cent enrolment during the previous academic year.

A whopping 97.89 per cent of the 5.74 lakh students who had enrolled for the matric examination conducted by the Odisha Board of Secondary Education, the highest so far surpassing 86.37 per cent in 2017. As no examination could be conducted this year, the BSE relied on an alternative assessment system taking into account the marks secured in class 9 as well periodic tests in class 10.

Adding another 25000 students who passed out from State Open School, Madhyama and Madrasa board the total number of students who would be eligible for admission in higehr secondary classes would be more than 6 lakh. This apart, around 12,000 students from CBSE, CISCE and other boards are likely to compete for the same set of seats in these colleges.

The record pass percentage has now proved to a huge headache for the government as only 4.43 lakh seats are available in 2032 higher secondary schools. Another 1.59 lakh seats are available in government and private diploma institutes and ITIs.

School and Mass Education Minister Samir Ranjan Dash said the government has a provision to allow major schools to increase their seats by 20 pc after their existing seats are exhausted.

“The results of CBSE and ISCE are yet to be announced. Once the results are out, government would take appropriate measures for their enrolment. If necessary, we may consider allowing this extension to some of the higher secondary schools after due scrutiny. No students would suffer due to scarcity of seats,” Dash said.

Dash said in 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years, seats were increased in Ravenshaw higher secondary school in Cuttack, BJB higher secondary school in Bhubaneswar, SCS higher secondary school in Puri, and Rajendra higher secondary school in Bolangir as applications outnumbered the seats.

Incidentally, the shortage of seats in higher secondary classes has come after many higher secondary school over last few years had their seats going vacant. In 2020, a whopping 1.24 lakh seats in higher secondary seats remained vacant while in 2019, at least 1.20 lakh seats in Arts, Science and Commerce streams of higher secondary schools had remained vacant at the end of academic sessions. In 2018, around 20 per cent seats had gone vacant.

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