Traditionally referred to as adivasis, tribes, or tribals, scheduled tribes (STs)
constitute about 9% of India’s population. Despite diversity in their community
history, languages, production practices, and relationships with the non-tribal
world, approximately 87 million Indians fall under the adivasi population, of which
nomadic and de-notified communities1 (DNTs), are at a projected 60 million. Nine
States – Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra,
Orissa, Rajasthan, and West Bengal – together account for more than four-fifths
of the total tribal population in India.
Major Issues in the Education of the tribal (ST) children
Efforts by the State for tribal education
- The use of the tribal language as a medium of instruction in the initial years can
develop a sense of comfort for the tribal child. However, some tribes themselves
perceive local content and tribal language education as a way to keep the community
- Research in child development and pedagogy has indicated that a young child learns
concepts better if these are embedded in contexts that are meaningful i.e. contexts
that are local and familiar.
- Teacher absenteeism in tribal areas is high as teachers most often live in cities.
- Children are taught using a city syllabus, which is less applicable to tribal areas,
leaving children in a state of confusion.
- At the same time, teachers, when they are present, are often unclear about the teaching
methodology, and do not offer flexibility and freedom to students.
- Although interviews with tribal parents pointed to their complete support for education
and high aspirations for their children’s future, there needs to be a larger community
involvement that participates in the education effort.
- Among the tribal community, tribal girls form the most neglected group, and are
least likely to be educated. An estimated 37% of girls aged 7–14 belonging to the
lowest castes or tribes do not attend school, compared with 26% of majority girls
of the same age (Lewis and Lockheed, 2007).
- In many tribal communities, parents give minimal importance to girls’ education
due to economic and social limitations, send them to school only intermittently,
or keep the girls sheltered from the outside world. Most frequently, girls, apart
from taking part in agricultural activities and collection of forest products are
engaged in sibling care.
Interventions Proposed for Education of STs
- Dictionaries in tribal languages such as Gond, Mauchi, Bhil, Pawara are created
- Dhule district created as a bridge material
- Bilingual Books on old curriculum have been prepared.
- Lessons indicting tribal culture and practices are introduced in the text books
- Establishment of SMCs in each school
- 6. Training of SMC members through Lokchetana Community Training module.
- Creating language dictionaries in all major tribal languages (about 11).
- Creating bilingual text books of at least std 1st and 4th in all tribal languages
- Convergence with TRTI, Pune and Vacha for acquiring knowledge about tribal culture
- Developing Language training module for non-tribal teachers
- Preparation of Supplementary TLM (teacher-learning materials) in all tribal languages
for using local cultural form i.e. folk tales, songs, proverbs, riddles
- Creating contextualized learning material
- Using tribal vocabulary and phonetics and linking it with the Devnagari script (Devnagari
script in materials and words taken from the mother tongue)
- Creating materials for teachers outlining the socio-cultural background of tribal
people, Material incorporates simple small sentences and words for learning, aimed
at teachers unaware of the local language
- Special batches of teachers in tribal area schools by collaborating with tribal
- Special training for SMCs in tribal area schools Production of Film (on Girls’ education)
and its planned systematic dissemination.
- Convergence with ICDS (Kishori Vikas Yojana) for life skill education of girls (on
the line of Deepashikha) and conducting life skill education programmes for girls
in all tribal schools.