Eklavya Model Residential Schools
- The Union government is pushing for the establishment of 740 Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) for tribal children.
Eklavya model school
Issues with Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS):
- In 1997-98, the EMRS model was first introduced with the aim To provide tribal students with quality education and residential facilities in remote areas.
- To construct schools comparable to Jawahar Navoday Vidyalayas and Kendriya Vidyalayas.
- Prior to 2018-19, the scheme was overseen by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, with state governments having complete control over identifying new schools, recruiting, management, and admissions.
- The scheme's guidelines stated that states and union territories would be responsible for seeking approval for new schools as and when they were required.
- These schools were to be funded through grants under Article 275. (1).
- The guidelines stated that states would not be eligible for funds for new schools unless they completed the schools sanctioned by the Centre.
- Aside from the infrastructure requirements of 20-acre plots for each EMRS, the guidelines did not specify where the EMRS could be established, leaving it to the discretion of state governments.
- In 2018-19, the EMRS scheme will be redesigned.
- The new guidelines gave the Union government more authority to sanction and manage schools.
- The management of the State Education Society for Tribal Students (SESTS), which would run the EMRS on the ground, was entrusted to the National Education Society for Tribal Students (NESTS).
- The new guidelines established a target of establishing an EMRS in each tribal sub-district, as well as population criteria for doing so.
- The minimum land requirement was also reduced from 20 acres to 15 acres under the new guidelines.
- Population Criteria: One EMRS in each sub-district with at least 20,000 Scheduled Tribes, which must constitute 50% of the total population in that area.
- This year, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Ministry stated that the population criteria were "impractical" and needed to be "immediately reviewed."
- The population criteria were making land identification and acquisition "more difficult," particularly in hilly areas, areas prone to leftwing extremism, and the northeast.
- The area (15 acre) requirement was causing significant delays for a large number of schools.
- Teacher shortage: While the new guidelines allowed NESTS to suggest measures for teacher recruitment, they never required states to follow them.
- The Tribal Affairs Ministry is adamant about upholding the new criteria.
- As of November, a total of 688 schools had been sanctioned, with 392 of them operational.
- Of the 688 schools, 230 have been completed, 234 are under construction, and 32 are still stalled due to land acquisition issues.
- Following approval by the Expenditure Department, all SESTs will be decommissioned, and regional offices will be established under the control of NESTS, which will be in charge of recruitment.
- According to the ministry, this will address the EMRS network's teacher shortage.
Eklavya Model Residential Schools' Importance (EMRS)
- Students will be empowered to be change agents, beginning in their school, moving on to their homes, villages, and finally the larger community.
- EMRS can provide quality education to Scheduled Tribes (ST) children in remote areas, which will greatly benefit ST students.
- All enrolled students would benefit from comprehensive physical, mental, and social development.
Education Challenges Among India's Tribals
Different Cultures and Languages: Each tribal community has its own culture, values, traditions, practises, beliefs, and way of life. They communicate in various languages and rely on natural resources to meet their needs and requirements.
Financial issues: The tribal communities face severe financial difficulties. They live in poverty, have no monetary resources, and use the barter system.
Unwillingness of Tribals: Because tribal communities are mostly illiterate, they are averse to their children receiving an education.
Teachers' Attitude: Teachers make little effort to improve the educational levels of tribal students.
Inadequate Guidance: The tribal communities' backwardness and ignorance prevent their children from receiving proper guidance.
Literacy Campaigns: It is critical to organise a proper awareness campaign to spread information about the importance of education among tribal communities.
Appointment of Local Teachers and Female Teachers: More tribal teachers and female teachers should be hired in tribal areas. Teachers in tribal communities should carefully consider the environmental, ethnic, cultural, and psychological characteristics of tribal children.
Technology Use: The digital initiative can support educators' professional development by allowing them to use technology in the classroom. Steps must be taken to ensure education equity, including equal opportunity and access for the next generation of school learners and educators.
Proper Monitoring: Higher-level officials should regularly inspect the operation of tribal schools, particularly the teaching-learning methods, working hours, and attendance registers.
Proper implementation of the schemes by introducing education in the mother tongue and teacher's training in dealing with tribal students can ensure the development of tribal communities.