Andhra Pradesh

AP government tribal school: An embodiment of ethnic diversity of tribes

Temple of learning: Students, teaching staff and former teachers at an interaction at the government tribal school at Vakuluru in East Godavari agency.   | Photo Credit: T. APPALA NAIDU

The government tribal primary school at Vakuluru habitation in Maredumilli mandal on the Andhra Pradesh-Odisha border is an embodiment of the ethnic diversity of tribes of Andhra Pradesh. It brings together four tribes - Konda Reddy, Konda Dora, Kondh and Valmiki - who together spend a large part of their academic life here.

The total student strength is 24 and half of them are girls. Three students have enrolled this month in the first class.

“I belong to the Valmiki tribe, one student belongs to Kondh, another to Konda Dora and 22 students belong to the Konda Reddy tribe, the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) in Andhra Pradesh,” Boraga Yehoshua, the headmaster, tells The Hindu. He has completed four years of service here.

“We together form the fabric of the diversity of tribes in the Andhra-Odisha tribal region, which I have never seen in any place that I worked before. The medium of teaching, however, is Telugu,” adds Mr. Boraga, who joined the service in 1987.

I have come here for teaching while Konda Dora and Kondh families have been living here. “It is a ‘temple of learning’ with zero Out of School Children (OSC), a rare feat in the agency,” says Mr. Boraga, a native of East Godavari agency.

Schooling must

“We have realised the role of education in our lives. Every family sends their children to school. Until recently, parents used to send their children for cattle-rearing, agricultural work or to the forest to get produce. Now, schooling is almost mandatory for girls in our village,” says degree final year student Marigela Sridevi and Maddita Aiswarya, a class X student. The duo has completed their primary education here.

Says Vantali Sitru, a Kondh tribal farmer and a father of three, “We have migrated from Gurtedu area to Vakuluru village. Two of my children have completed the primary education in the school here and now my youngest son is studying here.”

As this Correspondent was going round the school, there was another visitor Pallala Lakshmi Radhika, who had come to collect her ‘Study Certificate’ almost two decades after dropping out of the school. “I had dropped out in Class III. Nowadays there are no such cases as everyone aspires to educate their children,” she says. She has been elected as a Ward Member in the recent Panchayat elections in her in-laws village.

Management

The School Managing Committee meeting is largely attended by women who discuss the issues of the school as well as the village, which has 54 families comprising 174 people. It has three Gondh families.

In their social life, each tribe follows its own traditions and cultural practices. An interesting feature of the school life is that the children are encouraged to sing the songs of their respective tribes.

“Children follow hygiene practices and dress up well. Women of the village deserve the credit for such changes,” remarks Mr. Boraga, who starts school an hour in advance as the bus to the area reaches early.


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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 2:05:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/an-embodiment-of-ethnic-diversity-of-tribes/article35503461.ece

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