Educationists stress on continuous education in tribal schools

In Odisha, tribals constitute 22.8 per cent of the population and 9.2 per cent of the tribal population in the country
Image used for representational purposes only.
Image used for representational purposes only. (Express Illustration)

BHUBANESWAR: Stakeholders in the education sector have suggested schools having continuous education up to Class-XII to increase the enrolment of tribal students.

At the policy dialogue on Tribal Education in Eastern India, conducted by the DST- Centre for Policy Research, NISER, on Thursday, they drew a comparison between Odisha and Chhattisgarh as far as tribal education is concerned.

In Odisha, tribals constitute 22.8 per cent of the population and 9.2 per cent of the tribal population in the country. On the other hand, Chhattisgarh has 7.5 per cent of the country’s tribal population, and 30.6 per cent of its population belongs to tribal communities. They pointed out that the literacy rate in Odisha is equal to the national average of 73 per cent, while for Chhattisgarh, it is 70 per cent.

However, the tribal literacy in India and in both states is much lower than the overall literacy rate. Tribal literacy in Odisha - 52 per cent - is less than that of Chhattisgarh and the national average of 59 per cent. Similarly, when it comes to the secondary dropout rate among tribals, in Chhattisgarh it is 13 per cent, while for Odisha, the figure is 33 per cent. The gross enrolment ratio (GER) of tribals in higher secondary education in Chhattisgarh (62.22%) is higher than in Odisha (38.8%). The low GER among STs indicates that many students are withdrawing from education after matriculation to join the labour force.

They pointed out that Odisha continues to lag behind Chhattisgarh in the transition from secondary to higher secondary education. Tribal students’ transition to higher secondary education in Odisha is 40 per cent, while in Chhattisgarh, it is 84 per cent as per the UDISE+ 2021-22 report.

Chhattisgarh imparts secondary and higher secondary education in the same schools, while in Odisha, these two stages of education have been segregated based on school buildings. The number of schools that provide secondary and higher secondary education in Chhattisgarh is 4,600 (8.14 per cent of the total schools), while in Odisha, the number of such schools is only 539 (0.86 per cent of the total schools).

Coordinator of DT-CPR at NISER Amarendra Das said Odisha government needs to increase access to higher secondary schools in tribal regions by building more classrooms and schools. Suggesting that all tribal schools should provide continuous education up to Class XII, he said the government may consider merger of the Board of Secondary Education and Council of Higher Secondary Education. The dialogue was attended by Prof V Santhakumar of Azim Premji University, Lalita Pattanaik of UNICEF and Prof Hirendra Nath Ghosh, director of NISER.

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