Initiative aims at improving education in tribal schools

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on Thursday launched a new initiative called Quality Education for STs (QuEST) to improve the quality of education in tribal welfare schools.

Touted as first of its kind effort in the country, the QuEST is basically aimed at developing subject-specific and class-specific competencies among tribal students. Accordingly, 52 instruction books (Deepika) for teachers and practical books (Abhyasika) for students were prepared for Classes VI to IX and eight more are getting ready for Class X.

The Chief Minister announced that the government would appoint one volunteer for every 100 houses with school drop-out tribal children to bring them back into formal education.

Similar strategy would be adopted to improve education levels among children of fishermen and minority communities.

Expressing concern over the low rate of literacy among tribal people (37 per cent), the Chief Minister noted that it was 47 p.c. in boys and 27 p.c. in girls and stressed the need to improve it by multi-pronged strategies.

Dig at detractors

After keeping silent for weeks on criticism against him for playing cricket and badminton with children during Indiramma Baata visits, the Chief Minister came down heavily against his detractors, including the Opposition parties, and a section of the media.

“It’s not necessary for me to act like others. I care too little for such hackneyed media criticism as long as I am convinced about my efforts,” Mr. Reddy said.

The Chief Minister had been visiting tribal habitations and putting overnight stays in tribal hostels only to infuse confidence among tribal people that they were equal with the rest of the society. Special 104 health services would be introduced soon for the benefit of children in tribal schools, he noted.

Besides, 84 residential schools would be set up for tribal children with the Centre’s assistance in two phases. Each school would also have a hostel attached to accommodate 100 girls, Mr. Reddy stated.