Village elders’ involvement has worked wonders: Adivasi kids from Nilgiris tribal hamlets now complete their basic education – Tamil Nadu

COIMBATORE: A grassroots movement to keep Adivasi kids in school has seemingly worked wonders in over 320 tribal hamlets in Gudalur, Nilgiris. The Adivasi Munnetra Sangam, Gudalur, spearheaded a movement that prevents Adivasi children from dropping out of school, by involving local tribal communities in the process.

Members of the Sangam said that in the early 90’s, tribal children would often drop out of school. One reason was because they only conversed in their dialects, and could not follow teaching in Tamil or English, which were the mediums of instruction. They also faced discrimination at the hands of teachers and headmistresses.

In 1999, a survey by the Adivasi Munnetra Sangam discovered that only 737 children were enrolled in schools in Gudalur. Today, thanks to their efforts, over 2,800 tribal children are studying in schools across Gudalur.

Speaking to Express, D Ramdas, former Founder-Trustee of the Viswa Bharathi Vidyodaya Trust, which worked through the Adivasi Munnetra Sangam, said they appointed village elders in all tribal hamlets and have given them the responsibility to take children to school, wait till classes get over, and then return. […]

These persons would keep a track of children in their villages and ensure that they would at least complete their basic education.

Taking cognizance of the work done by the Sangam, government programmes like the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan also began providing escort services and even made arrangements to transport children to school, said Ramdas.

Source: “Grassroots movement to keep kids in school” by Rohan Premkumar, The New Indian Express, 11 August 2016
Date Visited: Sun Aug 21 2016 20:35:38 GMT+0200 (CEST)

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