CHENNAI: A study conducted by two NGOs here stated that over 70 per cent of students from Scheduled Caste (SC) communities residing in Adi Dravidar Welfare colonies did not have proper access to telecommunication facilities and internet. Issues like nonfunctional television sets, unsuitable timings of Kalvi television programmes, and insufficient number of teachers prevented education from reaching these children in the last two years, it claimed.
Conducted by Centre for Child Rights and Development (CCRD) and Resource Organisation for Development and Transformative Studies (ROOTS), the study focus on the effects of Covid-19 on children studying in Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare (ADTW) schools.
After schools were shut due to Covid-19, the State government introduced video lessons on Kalvi TV for academic year 2020-21. The lessons were telecast in 30-minute video format between 5:30 am and 10:30 pm. According to official records, the exclusive educational channel garnered over two million views and over 46,000 subscribers on YouTube within a year. The study stated that this facility did not reach ADTW students at all.
Another major finding of the study is that neither the Department of Adi Dravidar Welfare nor the schools know whereabouts of Adi Dravidar students who left school hostels during the pandemic. The study claimed such students might have ended up as child labourers. Also, there is no information on whether these students made it to middle, high, and higher secondary schools.
The team found low student strength in many such schools it visited. Two reasons for this is believed to be the presence of Panchayat Union Schools near Government Adi Dravidar Welfare Schools and the poor infrastructure in the latter.
One of the key recommendations proposed by the team is the introduction of English-medium education and pre-school education in ADTW schools across the State.