There are hardly half a dozen tribal welfare residential colleges offering English medium in the State

Tribal students from West Godavari district, who appeared for the Class X public examination recently from different tribal welfare and the ITDA-managed Asram residential schools, are likely to become guinea pigs for the on-going experiment on introduction of English medium in Tribal Welfare Schools.

With no access to English medium education at the plus two level in any of the tribal welfare and social welfare residential junior colleges within the district, future appears to be bleak for all of them. Introduction of English medium in tribal welfare schools began with the first batch of 400-odd students when they were in Class V some six years ago.

Hardly half a dozen tribal welfare residential colleges with English as the medium of instruction are located in the State – two in each region in the State

They are quite unlikely to accommodate a large number of students who are coming out of the tribal welfare schools with English medium background.

“Unless the government takes a policy decision to transform all the existing Telugu medium tribal welfare residential junior colleges into English medium right from the ensuing academic year, solution is not within the sight,” a header master of a tribal welfare school told The Hindu on condition of anonymity.

The Right To Education Act (RTE) envisages allotment of 25 per cent of seats in corporate colleges offering plus two courses for students with poor economic and social backgrounds with the condition of the government bearing the cost of education. “ But the quota meant for tribal students within the 25 per cent of reserved seats is quite negligible and that hardly 20 students from our schools in the district may get a chance to get into corporate colleges under the RTE provision”, the head Master said.

The State government has decided to introduce English medium in tribal welfare schools in 2008 from Class V to give the tribal students a competitive edge and enable them to cope with competition at the high education level.

According to information, 40-50 students are found to be not exposed to even the English alphabet at the entry level. With the feeling of alienation, around 5-10 students run away from school every year.

The poorly trained teachers in the English medium instruction contributed their part to the poor state of affairs.