By: Anchal Kanthed
“If you educate a man, you educate an individual, however, if you educate a woman, you educate a whole family. Women empowered means mother India empowered.”
-PT. Jawaharlal Nehru
The aim of this article is to show how Indian tribal women are faring or lacking in terms of education. Education is extremely important in our lives. Every woman, just like every man, has the right to education. The path to success is education. Women are in the same boat as compared to men. Women are the artistic heart of the earth. Daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers all play a stable part. So far, women’s commitment to communities, culture, and the country has largely gone unappreciated. When I write this article, I remember and salute all those women who had played a substantial role in my life.
The article examines tribal women’s educational status, as well as Indian government policies and programmes aimed at improving education in tribal communities, as well as the issues that they face. This also suggests some suggestions for change and dealing with the problems.
With a tribal population of 677 million, India is the world’s second most populous nation. The majority of tribal people are poor, illiterate, and live-in remote forests and mountains. They lag behind in all facets of life as compared to other segments of the population. The Indian government has initiated a number of initiatives aimed at improving tribal education and well-being.
The literacy rate has not changed despite efforts. This is extremely low among primitive tribes, and abysmally low among women. Literacy is essential for any sector’s or region’s socioeconomic growth. As a result, the goal of this study is to identify tribal women’s promotion issues, especially among tribal women, and to suggest appropriate solutions.
We are very well aware of the fact that our first teachers are women. To quote Napoleon, “progress of the nation is impossible without educated mother. If the women of my country are not educated the about half of the people will be illiterate. Mothers’ duty does not end with giving birth to many children. In our society has not even seen distinguished.”
This education of women for our countries is the need of the hour. An educated women community is cure to many of the problems like poverty, child labour, birth control, inequality, drug related matters etc. And if women are not educated than we will trapped in a vicious cycle as follows:
EDUCATIONAL STATUS OF TRIBAL WOMEN
Uttar Pradesh being the largest state of India in terms of population, constitutes more than 500 tribes in India. But scheduled tribes are only 8.2% of total population of India. Approximately 93 percent of tribal people live in rural areas and work in agriculture.
Table 1 shows the developments in tribal literacy in India from 1961 to 2001. In 1961, the tribal literacy rate was just 8.54 percent; by 2001, it had risen to 47.10 percent. However, women in tribes have a literacy rate of 34.76 percent, compared to 59.17 percent for men.
Source: National Commission for SCs & STs, Fifth Report & Census, 2011.
SCHEMES OF PROMOTION OF WOMEN
In India, the government has made significant efforts to boost tribal education. The government also established a programme to provide free tribal education. Children from Schedule Tribes are barred from paying any tuition before they reach university age. Via the right to free education, all children in India have the same guarantee. Furthermore, the government has devised a system for free uniform delivery to tribal children, ensuring that they do not miss out on the benefits of regular schooling due to financial constraints.
The government has implemented a mid-day meal programme to provide children with a nutritious meal. This scheme has included all primary schools, including tribal schools. The government has a scheme of providing free textbooks and instructional resources to children in primary school.
- Tribal sub-plan approach
The primary policy of the Fifth Five-Year Plan came into being. Elementary education has been identified as a focus in the tribal sub-Plan strategy, alongside key economic sectors. Education is valued not only because it is a constitutional requirement, but also because it is an essential component in the holistic growth of tribal societies, particularly in terms of building trust among tribes to communicate fairly with outsiders. A strong policy structure on education was implemented in tribal sub-plans with equal focus on quantitative and qualitative aspects, with a preference for primary education.
- National Policy on Education
Under this policy, the opening of primary schools in tribal areas would be prioritised. Initially, curricula and instructional materials should be developed in tribal languages, with plans in place to transition to regional languages. ST youths who show promise will be allowed to teach in tribal areas. In tribal areas, ashram schools/residential schools will be built on a large scale.
The appreciation of the heterogeneity and complexity of tribal areas is unique to this strategy. The proposal also calls for a systemic change in primary education, with a focus on increasing accessibility in tribal areas.
In addition to stressing localization of textbook development, the policy stresses the value of mother tongue education for successful teaching and promotes a combination of relevant local material and instruction.
- The Salva Shiksa Abhiyan
Around 1,044 million school-age females do not attend primary school due to poverty, inability to enrol in rural India, and other factors. In 2001-2002, the Indian government, in collaboration with state governments and local autonomous administrations, established the Salva Shiksa Abyyan (SSA) initiative to address this issue. This is a thorough and crucial comprehensive plan started by the Government of India, with the purpose of achieving the long-awaited goal of universal basic education.
The SSA plan’s key objectives are as follows:
- By 2003, the institutional education system must be in place.
- By 2005, all youngsters will have had an education.
- By 2010, all children should have access to early childhood education.
- Insist on the importance of having a good quality of life.
- Between 2006 and 2010, eliminate gender and socioeconomic class gaps between primary and basic education levels.
- Generally, held until 2010. In addition, as indicated below, the Indian government has undertaken a number of other stimulus projects to protect children in schools:
(1) free textbooks and backpacks
(2) Complimentary school uniforms
(3) Meal plan for the lunch hour, and so forth.
PROBLEMS WITH TRIBAL EDUCATION
Despite legislative assurances and ongoing campaigns, tribal nations struggle to fall behind the general public in terms of schooling. There are numerous problems prevailing, to list a few as:
- EXTERNAL CONSTRAINTS
The majority of tribal peoples are scattered around the forest. As a result, separate schools could not be established in any village where the required student body was not present. Physical boundaries such as rivers, valleys, nalas, and trees also isolated tribal homes in other parts of the world. As a result, these physical obstacles prevent girls from a tribal village from attending school in a nearby village. Parents should not take their daughter to school in this case. More boarding schools should be founded in every state and school district, and tribal boarding schools should be extended up to PG.
- LACK OF INTEREST IN TRIBAL CHILDREN
In several states, tribal children learn by books similar to those seen in non-tribal children’s programmes in cities and rural areas. The content of these novels, obviously, does not apply to tribal children from various communities. A child reaches adulthood with confidence in a conventional tribal environment. He has a complete knowledge of his surroundings, knows how to build his own home, farm his lands, and weave his cloth; in short, he has mastered all of the skills necessary to live a relatively comfortable life within his culture’s confines.
- OTHER CHALLENGES
- Attitudes of parents
The majority of girls drop out of school to live with their mothers. According to studies, the majority of children’s parents are uneducated or have dropped out early. The majority of the tribe’s parents are illiterate. They still seem to be unconcerned with their daughter’s education. They want to assume their daughter’s family obligations while she is still in school. These girls’ parents have no links to the outside world and are unaware of the value of schooling. It is a Herculean task to teach those girls.
- Living circumstances
For eight months of the year, the tribes depend on the trees, and for four months, they rely on agriculture. The children, aged 4 to 6, assist their parents in collecting forest goods. In that case, parents did not want their daughters to be rescued from labour and allowed them to attend kindergarten. When a family’s finances are in jeopardy, the schooling of girls takes a back seat.
The development of ST and SC people in educational and economic institutions is emphasised in Article 46 of the Indian Constitution. Science and technology education has had a fairly unequal penetration rate in ST throughout the previous four decades. Ignorance and illiteracy among tribes should be reduced and removed by providing proper education and awareness activities. The government should give adequate funding for indigenous education.
Because education is the most effective methods of ensuring equal chances, the government has undertaken various educational measures, such as increasing special education facilities and retaining spots in educational institutions. However, one of the tribes’ most pressing concerns is the advancement of education. Some suggestions are as follows:
- To raise awareness and educational value, a campaign for suitable awareness must be established.
- Educated indigenous youth are hired as instructors, and their work must be published in tribal communities.
- Appropriate counselling and coaching should enhance indigenous parents’ views about schooling.
- Maintaining a tight interaction with teachers for the growth of indigenous pupils.
- To develop a new type of tribal student, the course laboratory should be constructed.
- Incentive management should be streamlined so that students can take advantage of all amenities at the appropriate times.
- Senior authorities should inspect the school’s operations on a regular basis to learn about the school’s teaching techniques, work hours, school days, and attendance records.
- In each location, establish separate boarding schools and extend them to the PG level.
- All convenient residential facilities for teachers and other staff members must be provided.
- Merit scholarships, attendance scholarships, and other prizes, such as clothes, books, study materials, meals, and sports equipment grants.