Inclusion in education needed for tribal children

A two-day seminar on tribal education as part of the Tribal Youth Skill Development Programme, funded by SBI Life Insurance was held at MSSRF’s Wayanad centre. The seminar is part of a two-year project for skilling tribal youth for job opportunities. About 270 tribal youth from the district attended the seminar.

 The seminar discussed issues related  to educational backwardness of tribal communities in sessions. on 1. primary education, 2. high school and higher secondary education, and 3. education and livelihood. Eucational activists and researchers from various parts of Kerala, representatives of government departments and of educated tribal youth presented papers on the topic. 

Mr. C.K Sashindran MLA inaugurated the Seminar and the Community knowledge centre  for tribal youth established as part of the project. Mr. G.Subhash Babu, Regional Director, SBI Life was the Chief Guest of the function. “This is a unique CSR activity of SBI Life in South India and we are happy that we could achieve some good results through this partnership”, he said.

Mrs. Suma, a school teacher at Meenagadi higher secondary school, belonging to the Paniya community said “The primary school teacher should know and recognize that every tribal child has a separate language and a different culture. That is the first step to welcome a tribal child to the school”

The seminar found that inclusiveness of education institutions, content of education and other social and economic conditions of tribal life to be key factors that had to be examined in detail while addressing tribal educational issues. Further, participation of tribal children in the education process could only be ensured with a content and methodology which reflect their culture and life which will ensure their participation and ownership.

This two year project has so far trained 140 tribal youth in various skills and equipped them to attend competitive exams. Fifty three youths from different communities including 27 from the most backward Paniya community have been placed in different jobs including government jobs through the Kerala Public Service Commission. A community knowledge centre including a computer lab, library and training centre, exclusively for the tribal youth, has been established as part of this project, which was also inaugurated on this occasion.