SKOCH Award Nominee
Category: State – State Department
Sub-Category: subState – State Department
Project: Mission Suvidya
Start Date: 2019-12-04
Organisation: ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare Department, Odisha
Respondent: Ms Ranjana , Principal Secretary
Transforming Residential Hostels for Disadvantaged Students
ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare Department works under the Government of Odisha for welfare of minorities, and backward classes.
The Government of Odisha through various interventions greatly contributed to the welfare of SC, ST, Minority and Backward Class in the state. Many of the ST/SC students are able to secure admission in good educational institutions, but are often unable to get appropriate seats in hostels. This situation forces them to either opt out of higher education or stay in rented accommodation which further aggravates their economic hardship. Apart from constructing hostels the Government is also trying to develop and create basic amenities and infrastructure facilities in most of the hostels in the state. Most of the hostels in the state had a disparity in standards, procedures, systems, and management etc. Also there was no comprehensive database that could capture data regarding maintenance of quality standards in hostels run by ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare Department. The hostels had no risk mitigation plans in place to counter any internal or external challenges to the structural integrity of the hostels. There was no established system for standardized assessment criteria on the basis of which the hostel facilities could be graded and marked improved. Students need a better, safer and cleaner environment in hostels which are important components of disseminating a holistic quality education.
As a part of Odisha Government’s interventions in improving hostel amenities and facilities in the state, Government took the help of an independent third-party-developed a suitable and relevant criterion and conducted an assessment of 246 hostels spread over two districts like Keonjhar and Sambalpur. Government has also reluctantly organised an external audit as per the hostel assessment criterion by NABET and ISO Conformity Body to assess the status of facilities in the government-run hostels in the state. Also the process of digitisation of information and development of a dashboard on existing components like infrastructure, human resources, and basic services provided have been started that will help in assessing the overall status of hostels in the state. The hostel management guidelines as per the ISO clause has been revised and from now all the hostels run by the ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare Department have been brought under the minimum quality standardization. Guidelines relating to assessment modalities and conduct of ISO audit were drafted and issued. To make a greater place to live, conduct of sensitization and awareness programmes for staff are regularly taking place at the hostel level and also the borders were conducted to get acquainted with the processes and methodology adopted for assessment and audit. Government is taking every measure to improve the hostel facilities and make it a better environment suitable for getting quality education in the state.
The provisioning of external audit has brought more accountability in the system as it created sensitization among the concerned authorities. It also helped in evolving the areas of strength and scope for improvements. The process has also helped in preparing them in enhancing their structures and keeping the records of every development there. In the process of bringing and maintaining the minimum standardization as per the guidelines of ISO clause, every hostel run by the department possesses the ISO 9001:2015 certification. One outcome of the efforts of the department is it has successfully developed a robust database of SSD hostels in the state.
It was a challenge for the department to conduct the entire hostel assessment process in 2 pilot districts that are Keonjhar and Sambalpur where 156 and 90 hostels respectively were there which was completed within a strict deadline of two months only. Internalizing ISO clauses by the stakeholders and making hostels ISO compliant at all levels was another challenge for the concerned authorities.
On the basis of key parameters like governance and management, health and nutrition, safety and security, human resource, amenities and recreation and quality assurance the process of evaluation has been initiated. A detailed qualitative and quantitative trend analysis report based on contemporary data analytical tools was prepared by the NABET team which reflects the overall status of the hostel facilities in the state. This has laid the basis for creating a repository of self-assessed data points for better trend identification of systemic issues and ground realities. It has also integrated the ISO clauses in hostel management guidelines.
With this initiative of the Mission Suvidya, the foundation for improvement and progress of SSD hostels has been laid that will ensure quality residential schooling facilities for each ST/SC boarder student. The project is successful in delivering the very objectives of the mission and it is replicable in others states as well.
For more information, please contact:
Ms Sony Rout, Senior Technical Consultant at firstname.lastname@example.org
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