Proposal to lift academic profile may get nod. Tech integration will take time

With literacy being considered one of the most important indicators to bring tribal communities to the mainstream, the Integrated Tribal Department Project (ITDP) is proposing a 10-point programme for Koragas to arrest the high dropout rate and low academic proficiency among the community.

However, the Rs. 64.97-lakh proposal sent to the Directorate of Tribal Welfare in Bangalore on August 13 for approval may hit a few roadblocks with a source saying that some of the plans were “too ambitious”.

The programme envisages educational incentives, swimming classes, introduction of technology that would otherwise be unaffordable to the economically weaker society, and tuition classes for 877 Koraga children – 436 boys and 441 girls – in the district.

According to ITDP Project Co-ordinator Sabeer Ahmed Mulla, the novel programme would ensure curricular and extra-curricular development of the primitive tribal group. “If approved, the district would be the first to implement this kind of programme,” he said, and added that swimming was chosen because of the “high inclination” shown by the children to this activity.

With literacy rates being low among the older generation of Koragas, Mr. Mulla said the programme would holistically tackle the challenge of inspiring children to take up academics even after school hours.

SSA support

On the importance of the programme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) Project Coordinator N. Shivaprakash said when compared to other demographics, higher rates of irregular attendance and dropouts were seen among the Koragas in the district.

The Education Department is waiting for the scheme to be approved before pulling out a list of possible educators (anyone with a degree, or even having passed pre-university) who would be entrusted to tutor the children for around two hours after school.

“The discrimination is admittedly less now, and the remuneration will attract a good number of teachers,” he said, and added that a similar scheme for persons with physical disabilities was a success.

A teacher or educator would be in-charge of a colony or Koraga children in one school — numbers can vary from four to 10. The SSA would also conduct assessments of the children to gauge the quality of the special education and the spoken English classes to ensure that the project success goes beyond just financial and physical progress, he said.

Gadget glitch

While most of the points have received informal approval from the Directorate of Tribal Welfare, what could be stalled are the tablet distribution, e-classroom and learning kit programmes. “We have to study the proposal in detail. Purchasing tablets for Rs. 5,000 does not seem feasible nor does it seem like it is needed. Other external purchases need to be looked at closely, because costs can be curtailed,” said an official.

The official said that the Directorate’s focus was on infrastructure, training and individual development and not purchase of technology.

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