Tribal students in the Nilgiris face prospect of missing classes

A Kurumba boy from a tribal village near Coonoor.

A Kurumba boy from a tribal village near Coonoor.  

Tribal students from remote hamlets in the Nilgiris face the prospect of missing out on classes as they do not have access to technology that will be used to teach them in the coming months.

School teachers and headmasters from private schools across the Nilgiris where tribal students are currently studying said that there was great concern about the impact the pandemic will have on the education of tribal students.

“Tribal students need special attention in school, due to the structural problems they face in getting an education, as many are from impoverished families. With the government announcing that classes will be broadcast on television for government school students, and some private schools insisting on using smart phone technology to reach students at home, those who are most at risk of being left out of the system are tribal students,” said a school headmaster of a government school in the Nilgiris.

Priya, a resident of Chinnala Kombai near Pilloor Mattam, a hamlet which is only accessible by walking over 6 km through a reserve forest, said that students in Chinnala Kombai, Sadayan Kombai and Anaipallam attend the government school in Anaipallam. She added that no one in any of the three villages owns a smart phone or television sets.

“We are worried that the children in our villages will have to miss the entire academic year,” she said.

Tribal children in remote hamlets, especially in Kil Kotagiri, Thengumarahada and parts of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve live in especially inaccessible areas, said officials from the school education department in the Nilgiris.

Another teacher at a government school attended by tribal students said that children from Adivasi villages required special individual attention.

A. Nasarudeen, Chief Education Officer, Nilgiris district, acknowledges the difficulties the School Education Department faces in reaching Adivasi settlements and students.

“It is true that many families do not have access to smart phones, laptops or even basic internet, so we are still trying to figure out what can be done to reach these students,” said Mr. Nasarudeen, adding that the department was awaiting further instructions from the government to address these concerns.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2020 12:50:58 PM |

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