- Measures Adopted for Educational Development of socio-economic disadvantaged groups:
- Our Constitution has directed the states to promote the educational interests of the weaker sections of the people, particularly of SCs and STs in terms of establishment of and admission to educational institutions and grant from state funds for scholarships, etc. It has thus consciously provided a policy of temporary discrimination for them.
- In view of these directions, a provision has been made in all Five Year Plans providing crores of rupees for raising the level of education among the SCs and STs by opening schools, giving pre-matric and post-matric scholarships, constructing hostels particularly for girls, creating book-banks, mid-day meals, loans to students, coaching centres, houses for teachers and so forth.
- Reserving seats in educational institutions including engineering and medical colleges.
- Relaxation in age and marks for admission.
- Free special coaching to students aspiring for admission to professional courses or preparing for central and state level competitive examinations.
- In his budget speech 2018-19, the Finance Minister announced establishment of Eklavya Schools. Details
- They are to be established in all Tribal blocks with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 Tribal persons will have Ekalavya Model Residential School (EMRS) by 2022.
- Ekalavya schools provide boarding and lodging facilities to tribal students.
- They are at par with the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (schools aimed at providing high quality education to all students irrespective of their socio-economic backgrounds).
- These schools will have special facilities for preserving local art and culture besides providing training in sports and skill development
- The National Policy on Education, 1986 contemplated the following measures for the education of SCs:
- Incentives to SC families to send their children to school regularly till they reach the age of 14.
- Pre-matric scholarship scheme for children of families engaged in low occupations (scavenging, tanning, etc.) from class I onwards.
- Constant monitoring to ensure enrolment, retention and successful completion of courses.
- Recruitment of teachers from SCs.
- Facilities in hostels.
- Locating schools, Balwadis and Education Centres in such a way as to facilitate full participation of SCs.
- Constant innovation in finding new methods to increase participation.
- For the STs, besides the above measures, other measures suggested were:
- Priority to opening primary schools in the tribal areas.
- Devising instructional materials in tribal languages at the initial stages.
- Encouraging educated tribals to take up teaching in tribal areas.
- Establishing residential schools on a large scale.
For the OBCs, the recommendations in NPE, 1986 were:
- Incentives to all educationally backward sections of society particularly in the rural areas.
- Providing institutional infrastructure in hill and desert districts and in remote and inaccessible areas.
- shortcomings and deficiencies in education programmes for the SCs and STs:
High percentage of drop-outs:
- Though the number of SC/ST children in primary classes has gradually increased in the last five decades yet a large number of students drop out by the time they pass 5th standard. It is estimated that the percentage of wastage in different states both among SC and ST communities vary from 30 (Himachal Pradesh) to 88 (Manipur). However, wastage among the STs is much higher than that among the SCs.
- All reserved seats are not filled up due to non-availability of the required qualified candidates.
- Money spent on education is much more than the money received as scholarship.
- In softie tribal areas, schools are located in distant places and children find it difficult to reach school. Similarly, adequate hostel facilities are also not easily available.
Frequent absence of teachers in remote areas:
- Most of schools in tribal as well as non-tribal areas are one-teacher schools. Teachers are either not willing to be posted in these isolated areas or they remain absent so frequently that students’ education suffers.
Medium of instruction:
- Tribal children speak their own dialect while teaching in primary classes is through the state language. This language problem makes students disinterested in their studies as they cannot read the text books written in unfamiliar language.
Cultural and social barriers:
- Among many tribals, the custom of marrying daughters at an early age and not permitting daughters-in-law to go for studies acts as a barrier to acquiring education. Moreover, most tribals have a feeling that the educated tribal youths would not respect the traditional norms and values of life.
- It may, therefore, be averred that unless tribals are taught both their tribal dialects and state languages, teachers are given incentives for working in isolated areas, single-teacher system is replaced by two or more teacher system, and unless school timings are fixed according to the convenience of the local people, an education will remain inaccessible to the vast majority of SC/ST students. Only especially crafted education policy will fulfill the needs of SCs and STs.