Telangana

Haimendorf’s approach on tribal education still relevant?

The old banyan tree which had formed part of the Marlavai Training Centre during the 1940s.

The old banyan tree which had formed part of the Marlavai Training Centre during the 1940s.   | Photo Credit: S. HARPAL SINGH

The Supreme Court’s order of April 22 quashing GO Ms. 3, issued on January 10, 2000 by the then combined State of Andhra Pradesh, to reserve 100 % government jobs for tribals in Scheduled Areas will have far reaching consequences in the Agency areas. The 152 page judgement by a Constitution Bench of the SC which holds that 100 % reservation for tribal teachers in schools located in the Scheduled Areas was unconstitutional as per the GO in question is being considered as a setback to socio-economic development of the tribals living in Scheduled Areas in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana States.

The 100 % reservation of teacher jobs for tribals in Scheduled Areas was to provide focussed development for this grossly under developed section of society. The SC, however, found the idea of only tribals teaching tribals by virtue of the GO, ‘obnoxious’.

It was way back in the 1940s that the need for education among tribals in Adilabad district, which had formed part of the erstwhile Hyderabad State ruled by the Nizam, received attention. The Gond Education Scheme was launched by none other than the famous Austrian Anthropologist Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf who had come to these parts to study various problems besotting the aboriginal people.

Relook needed

This concept was evidently an Anthropologist’s approach to the problem. The subsequent failure of modern education in improving the condition of the tribals in terms of education does necessitate to have a relook into what Professor Haimendorf had achieved through his model.

An insight into the education system brought about to churn out teachers from within the Raj Gond tribe in Adilabad and Koyas of Godavari valley is gained from the paper published by Social Anthropologist Urmila Pingle, herself a student of the legendary Austrian researcher, titled ‘C. von. Furer-Haimendorf: Half a century of his imprint on Tribal Welfare in Andhra Pradesh’. Professor Haimendorf had formulated the Gond Education Scheme (GES) in 1943 to improve literacy among the aboriginal people to handle exploitation by non-tribals.

Worked in harmony

Under the GES, a training centre was established at Marlavai in the present day Jainoor mandal of Kumram Bheem Asifabad district headed by a Gond teacher. It worked well as the new set of tribal teachers-patwaris (trainees) worked harmoniously with old leaders trainers as the former were sons of the soil, the paper claims.

The GES identified and trained Gondi speakers to become primary school teachers. By 1951, the teacher training centres at Marlavai and Ginnedhari produced 95 teachers, five village officers, one revenue inspector, five clerks and seven forest guards, indicating a success on a grand scale.

The accession of Hyderabad in the Indian Union saw a change in the education policies. Nevertheless, no intiative of the successive governments was as successful as the one brought into play by the legendary Anthropologist which had tribals teaching tribals.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2020 4:21:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/haimendorfs-approach-on-tribal-education-still-relevant/article31446695.ece

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