Schoolgirls walk 6 km for Panchayat-level Math test-

Over ninety female students from Classes IV, V, and VI of the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya in the Bhaliadiha village, Mayurbhanj district, Odisha raised concerns about the mismanagement of events by the State Education Department. 

Their main complaint was that the Education Department made them walk over six kilometres to Upendra Nath Ghose Government High School to appear for a panchayat-level Math test.

A video of the students walking towards the school has been circulating across social media platforms, according to a report by The New Indian Express.

Since no arrangement was made for them to reach the UNG Government High School and appear for the exam, the girls were compelled to walk all the way to the venue by their teachers and the principal, they allege. 

“We are tired and unhappy because for all of us the test centre is far and we were made to walk to the centre. By the time we reached the school, we felt exhausted,” said the students. 

They further implored their school authorities and the District Education Department of the state to be mindful of the difficulties of the students in commuting to a faraway school. 

The students also had to walk back to their school after their exam ended. 

Exams at the Panchayat level are administered by the Department of School and Mass Education of Odisha. Although the department had designated a non-governmental organisation (NGO) to conduct Math exams in Odisha, neither the government nor the organisation made any plans for students’ transportation to their designated test locations.

Bishnupriya Jena, Principal of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, revealed that students who could afford it arranged their transport. This left economically disadvantaged students to commute all the way to the school on foot. 

Palu Hansdah, Additional Block Education Officer (ABEO), assured to investigate the matter once it was brought to his attention.

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