Tribal education needs rescheduling of holidays

Culture first: Kolam students of Malangondi in Asifabad mandal headed towards Penganga river near Sirpur to participate in Bheemalpen puja a few days ago.

Culture first: Kolam students of Malangondi in Asifabad mandal headed towards Penganga river near Sirpur to participate in Bheemalpen puja a few days ago.   | Photo Credit: S_HARPALSINGH

Ethnic tribes will prefer a 10-day holiday for Diwali instead of 15 days for Dasara

The continuing antagonism of Adivasis towards Lambada teachers in the agency areas of erstwhile undivided Adilabad district has thrown tribal education out of gear but has also drawn attention of the Government towards the needs to strengthen it.

Experts opine that culture of the aboriginal tribes, which is inseparable from their life, be given equal importance in the educational scheme of things so that ethnic tribe pupils do not need to bunk schools and show more keenness towards learning. One of the major accusations faced by Adivasi students, or for that matter their parents, is their absence from school for relatively longer periods during their festivals. As the calendar of events in tribal education is similar to that of the ‘mainstream’ education system, absenteeism results in students falling behind and also in a general lack of interest in studies leading to increase in rate of dropouts.

During the last decade or so the 134 Ashram schools, 12 Gurukulam High Schools, 4 mini Gurukulams, 905 government primary schools in the agency areas, which account for enrolment of most of the 50,000 tribal children, have shown a decrease in the incidence of absence of aboriginal children during their festivals. However, holding back students forcibly in school does not seem to have helped the cause. “Education and culture need to go hand in hand. The holidays in school calendar for Adivasi children need to conform with their festivals,” opined Mesram Manohar, principal of Tribal B. Ed. College at Utnoor, who was also Additional District Education Officer for agency areas a few years ago.

The most important festivals for which the the aboriginal people, the Raj Gonds, Pardhans, Kolams, Totties etc, feel the need for holidays are Pola, the festival of thanksgiving to bullocks, Diwali and the holy month of poos (pushya masam). “Instead of the 15-day vacation for Dasara festival, the ethnic tribes will prefer a 10-day holiday for Diwali ending a couple of days after the festival of lights ends,” Mr. Manohar pointed out giving an example. According to Kursenga Somu, the headmaster of Mandal Parishad Primary School at Lendiguda in Jainoor mandal of Kumram Bheem Asifabad district, the rescheduling of holidays as per aboriginal tribe festivals will be a welcome change. “It will work well when both the teachers and students are Adivasis,” he added.

The issue of tribal education was discussed at length between top officials like State Chief Secretary S.P. Singh and Collectors of Adilabad, K.B. Asifabad and Mancherial districts recently with a view to finding short and long-term solutions to the Adivasi-Lambada problem.

Mancherial Collector R.V. Karnan, who is also the in-charge Project Officer of Utnoor Integrated Tribal Development Agency, said that the Government would think in terms of including local holidays in the school calendar.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 8:13:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/tribal-education-needs-rescheduling-of-holidays/article22320972.ece

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