NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has sought more funds from the Ministry of Finance for its Eklavya model residential schools. The residential schools aim to provide quality middle and high-level education to tribal children in remote areas of the country. The government aims to build at least one Eklavya model residential school (EMRS) in every block with 50 per cent tribal population and at least 20,000 tribal people by 2022 so that the tribal population can access education in areas where they are located, according to the 2018 budget announcement. There are 564 such blocks in the country.
"The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has asked for increased fund allocation from the Ministry of Finance in order to boost the EMRSs. This will help the ministry improve the quality of the EMRSs," said a senior official at the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. Currently, there are 205 functional EMRSs. Of these, 74 schools have become functional in the last four years. A review assessment of the existing EMRS shows the areas where the functioning of the schools can be improved. An increased fund allocation is required for the overall improvement of the functioning of the schools, said the official.
"The ministry has asked funds to allot an increased budget for the recurring cost of students and improved salaries for teachers who the state governments will appoint in these schools. A majority of the students enrolled in these schools are first-generation learners.
Spending more on quality teachers will help us enhance the quality of the residential schools," said the official. In addition to boost the existing EMRS, the ministry also wants to construct improved schools for the upcoming projects. "More budget allocation will help the ministry invest in boosting the infrastructure of the future schools which will be set up," the official added.
According to the ministry, Rs 891.7 crore has been released for the recurring cost of the EMRSs in the last four years. Currently, 60,000 students are enrolled in the existing EMRSs. The ministry has also given a push to sports activities in the residential schools by improving on the sports infrastructure there. A national level EMRS sports meet is scheduled for December.