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NGOs recommend appointment of special education officers to monitoring tribal schools in TN

Chennai, September 8 (BPNS)

Two NGOs active in the study of reforms in the educational sector of Tamil Nadu, has recommended that Special education officers be appointed for the monitoring of schools managed by the Adi Dravidar  Tribal Welfare Department. Presently these schools are monitored by the revenue department officials who, according to the study failed to understand the basic issues of the education among the Adi Dravidar Tribal Community and thereby the functioning of the schools.

The study also recommended constitution of village-level committees with the participation from the families of the students to monitor the schools under the Adi Dravidar  Tribal Welfare Department.

The study conducted by Centre for Child Rights and Development (CCRD) and the Resource Organisation for Development and Transformative Studies (ROOTS) conducted in the month of August in 11 Adi Dravidar Tribal schools have found that the students from these schools were the worst affected during the Covid -19 pandemic. The NGOs visited Adi Dravidar Tribal schools in Vellore, Ranipet and Tiruvannamalai districts.

According to the report presented by the NGOs to the tribal welfare department on Tuesday, it was found that roughly 70% of the students from these schools were not continuing their education since the commencement of the Covid -19 pandemic.

The main issue faced by these students was the lack of smartphones with internet connection for online classes as also they don’t have access to the state-run Kalvi TV air educational programmes.

The staff in the schools were not able to even locate the students of the tribal community who had left the hostels once the pandemic began and the NGOs pointed out that this was a sorry state of affairs as far as tribal education was concerned.

The staff of the NGOs who conducted the study also found that there was poor infrastructure in Adi Dravidar Tribal Schools and in particular the schools in Melkavanur in Vellore district and Karai in Ranipet district.

Surprisingly the study found that the overall decline in the number of students studying in schools run by tribal department has affected the primary schools while in the middle and higher secondary schools, students had enrolled for classes.

The NGOs recommended the government of Tamil Nadu to increase the infrastructure facilities in these schools for better enrolment. It also recommended that the dilapidated buildings are reconstructed, increase the internet connectivity in schools, provide smart classroom facilities and increases the money sanctioned for school hostels.

It is to be noted that there are roughly 1135 schools run by the Adi Dravidar Tribal Welfare Department and some schools had started functioning a century ago.

A senior official with CCRD while speaking to BPNS said, “We have presented the report and let the government act on it. The infrastructure has to be improved in the schools under the Adi Dravidar Tribal Welfare Department and internet connectivity is a must if the students are given proper education.”