KOZHIKODE: 'Gothraprabha', the project rolled out to help tribal students from Wayanad in the higher education sector, is bringing about changes. As many as 13 students got admission in SB College, Changanassery, on Monday, thanks to the project launched by the district administration in March this year.
The brainchild of Wayanad native Dr K P Nitheesh Kumar, the first doctorate holder in social work among all the tribal communities in the state, it is operated entirely by tribal people.
"The higher education of tribal students in Wayanad is in shambles. Around 40% of the students who appeared for the Plus 2 examinations this year failed. Among the few students who clear higher secondary examinations, most don't continue the studies. The very few who do also prefer to continue education in Wayanad itself but the district has very few opportunities. The students will not go outside Wayanad in search of better colleges and courses though they can get seats under reservation. Their opportunities get lost due to this attitude. Our role is to provide guidance and help them," said Nitheesh Kumar, who is also the district coordinator of the project.
Besides the 13, seven more students are expected to get admission in SB College. The 20 include seven from Kattunayaka tribe, four each from Paniya and Kurichya, two each from Adiya and Kuruma and one from Muthuvan tribe.
"Of the 724 tribal students who appeared for Plus 2 examinations this time, 486 passed. Our aim is to secure degree admission for all of them in the coming allotments," added Nitheesh Kumar.
According to him, Kattunayaka and Adiya tribes are the most backward in pursuing education due to multiple reasons. "Continuous follow-up is required for those who secure admission. A trivial reason is enough for the students to stop the course. They are emotionally very sensitive, especially while living in other places. I knew this well as a tribal student who studied both inside and outside Kerala," he said.
Comprehending this, 72 mentor teachers, all hailing from the tribal community, were trained under the project to guide the students.
According to Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) Wayanad district officer K C Cheriyan, the district doesn't have a post-matriculation hostel though it has the highest tribal population of 38% in the state.
"There are model residential schools and a pre-matric hostel for tribal students in Wayanad which are doing an excellent job. The same kind of attention and opportunities should be made available in the higher education sector also," he observed.