World Malayalee Council Tribal Empowerment Project
World Malayalee Council has conducted survey and investigative studies on the lapses in the present educational system for the Tribal Children. The survey involved visa of the schools, interviews and analysis of the the situation of educational facilities and learning environment of Tribal Children at primary level in Wayanad and Attappadi.
As part of the probono initiative, we have visited some of the Tribal Schools in Wayanad to understand the situation of children and the condition in which they are studying. There are 184 Single Teacher schools made under the central government scheme “Sarva Shikha Abhiyan” in Kerala near to the tribal colonies. All the students from class one to Four are studying in one class under one teacher. The schools are made of bamboo walls and plastic roofing, are in a very old dilapidated condition. The teacher gets Rs. 10,000 as salary from government. Teachers have to travel five to eight kilometres through dense forest (Habitat of every tropical wild life species including elephants and tigers ] to reach the school every day. They have to cook and feed the children [And their parents too] attending the school. They even spend from their meagre salary to feed the children and for buying teaching materials. Only upto 4th standard/grade the basic education can be given at the school and for further education children have to go far away places to avail any hostels facility for their continued studies. Hence many children stop their studies at 4th standard and join the parents as child labour!
The single teacher schools do not have any building of prescribed standards not even a safe place to sit, One colony at Makyat has a small building without any infrastructure facility. Most of them are thatched with bamboo and plastic sheets drenching the students during monsoon season! Immediate attention to be given to build safe schools with infrastructure facility along with school materials, toys and to provide clothing and nutritious food along with medical support. If the children are allowed to continuein these schools for next rainy season there is every possibility that there will be casualties and death. You can see the bamboo sheds which are supposed to be their schools in the attached photographs.
Many children in the age group of 12 and 18 are wandering in the colonies with occasional jobs in the farms nearby. Some of them stopped studies at 4th grade due to no support for going to far away schools. No system to give vocational training for the youth. Such youth are/can easily be victims of drug pushers and antisocial elements who explore the opportunity of getting able bodied youth.
It appears that there is a nexus between the administration and the local land lords who want to keep the situation to remain as it is to ensure a source of cheap labour. There is an evident disparity between huge amount of funds pumped into the tribal welfare activities by the Govt every year, and the actual situation on the ground.
The Government should facilitate the provisions of right to education guaranteed under the Constitution and specially to the “disadvantaged group” as defined in Section 2 (d) of The Right Of Children To Free And Compulsory Education Act 2009 (RTE Act).
5.1 Under Section 7(1) of the RTE Act, the central Government and the State Government have concurrent responsibility of providing funds for carrying out the provisions of this Act.
5.2 Section 8 (c) (d) and (g) of the RTE Act mandates that a child belonging to “disadvantaged group” are not discriminated against and prevented from pursuing and completing elementary education on any ground, also prescribing infrastructure and quality as provided in the Schedule to the Act.
5.4 The special educational rights of the disadvantaged group are provided in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In Article 14, it states that “Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.”
5.3 Accordingly, the culture and knowledge of indigenous people should be included in the curricula for indigenous children and youth at all levels of education. For the indigenous children, there is no quality in an education system where everything is based on a culture other than that of theirs.
In spite of these injunctions of law, the right to education has not been realised for these indigenous peoples, and a critical education gap exists between indigenous peoples and the general population. There is daring disparities between the indigenous and the non-indigenous population in terms of educational access, retention, and achievement.
We are attaching copies of :
1.Few photographs of our visit to the Tribal Schools.
Adv. Cyriac Thomas, WMC Global VP[Admin], Bangalore
Alex Vilanilam Koshy, WMC Global advisory Board Member, Keralatt
Contact Tel Nos: 9995468682/9207399283
You may also look at the project website http://wmctribalproject.com for the same.
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