11-point agenda to get tribal kids into school

11-point agenda to get tribal kids into school

The Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has formulated an 11-point agenda to improve enrollment and retention of children belonging to Scheduled Tribes in schools.

The agenda prioritises teaching these students in their language with many studies showing a higher proportion of tribals being out of primary schools than any other social category.

The ministry recently asked the states to develop textbooks and other educational materials, both print and audio-visual, in local languages using resources available within the Scheduled Tribe communities for their use at the beginning of their primary education.
It has also asked the states to give preference to recruiting speakers of the local language as teachers in the primary  schools located in tribal-dominated areas, ministry sources told Deccan Herald.

“The idea is to gradually bring tribal students into mainstream schooling. Textbooks in their mother tongue supplemented by teaching in their language at the beginning of primary education can go a long way in retaining these students and gradually shift them to the next level of education,” the sources added.

 According to a latest government report, while 4.36 per cent Scheduled Tribe children are out of school across the country, the drop out rate of tribal students at the primary level is much higher than in any other social category.

The highest drop out rate among tribal students has been observed in Mizoram (24.7 per cent), followed by Arunachal (16), Manipur (14.9), Rajasthan (10.9), Jammu and Kashmir (10.5), Meghalaya (10.4), Jharkhand (10), Nagaland and Madhya Pradesh (9.4 per cent each), Odissa (6.8), Assam (5.9), Chhatisgarh (5.8) and Gujarat (5.3).

“The biggest problem faced by the tribal children is that of language. Analysis of the educational indicators shows that majority of tribal children drop out of the primary school due to the difference in the school and home language. There is urgent need for special intervention for inclusion of these children in mainstream schools,” the sources said.