ST students suffer discrimination, says study

Young members of the de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes in the State studying in government schools face a great deal of discrimination perpetuated by their own teachers, a study has found.

The study titled, “Exclusion and Discrimination of De-notified Tribes – A Study of Karnataka”, was conducted by the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP), National Law School of India University (NLSIU).

A household survey of 247 such families belonging to 10 tribes — Pardhi, Ghisadi, Jogi, Budga Jangama, Dombara, Sudugadu Siddaru, Handi Jogi, Kanjara Bhaat, Maang Garudi, Bhill (Dungri Garasiya) — was carried out in 15 districts across the State over about a year. It finally concluded in last December.

A total of 247 families were surveyed. At least 139 families whose one or more children are in school said their wards reported instances of discrimination within the school setting. The most common form of discrimination, according to the study, was the one shown by teachers while engaging in various school activities. As many as 53 of the 139 families claimed that the teachers perpetuated this discrimination through their attitude.

Thirty-three other families complained that a particular sitting order and arrangements had been forced on their children in school. As many as 28 families claimed that their children had faced discrimination while getting mid-day meals. Thirty other families complained that their children faced discrimination while taking part in social and cultural activities and were sometimes not even allowed to take part in them.

The children of these tribes also discrimination at the hands of their classmates. Calling caste names, keeping them at a distance or even avoiding them have been listed as some of the practices engaged against them.
“Even when any theft is reported in the school, children belonging to these tribes are mainly blamed and targeted,” said Sony Pellissery, associate professor at CSSEIP. “These children have been virtually stigmatised in the society.”

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