The document expects 2.5 lakh students to pass secondary education by 2015, and in another five years, their number is expected to double. Assuming that 20 per cent of them enter higher education in universities, professional courses needed to be expanded substantially to accommodate the pass outs, it says.
Recognising the need to strengthen science and mathematics teaching in schools, it points out that students grasp of science as a process of discovery and of mathematics as the language of scientific reasoning is virtually absent in schools. Enhancement of learners capabilities and competence in languages, such as Oriya, Hindi and English is also a highly felt need.
Referring to quality assurance in schools and enhancement of levels of achievement, the document recommends introduction of a scholastic aptitude test to screen students for higher education. At present, enrolment in class VIII is 28.15 per cent while the success rate in high school certificate examination has not exceeded 40 per cent in last three years. Not even 5 per cent of those who clear class XII enter the higher education stream and professional degrees, it notes.
The document, which was prepared by a 12-member task force appointed by the state school and mass education department, has set lofty goals to achieve universalisation of higher secondary education with at least two high schools in every gram panchayat by 2020.
Suggesting that secondary education be restructured to allow two years of higher secondary education, it says that plus two classes should be introduced at least in one of the two high schools to be located in each of the gram panchayats. It says while class XI and XII can be a part of secondary school, class VIII, currently in high school, should be part of the elementary school structure.
Proposing reorganisation of the Board of Secondary Education, the document says that responsibility should be vested with autonomy while there should also be state-level assessment accreditation councils for secondary schools.
Significantly, the document suggests that the grant-in-aids and financial assistance to educational institutions should be linked to performance.