Pune: In order to provide the best quality education to tribal children in their own environment, the Central government in the Union Budget for 2018 proposed more number of Ekalavya model residential schools (EMRS) by year 2022.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech announced that every block comprising more than 50 per cent of tribal population and at least 20,000 tribal population will have an ‘Ekalavya model residential school’. Ekalavya schools will be on par with Navodya Vidyalayas and have special facilities for preserving local arts and culture.
“Ekalavya schools have been in existence since 2000 in Maharashtra. In past 17 years 259 schools were approved out of which 72 EMRS were approved in last three years. Therefore, it is a welcomed move that government is mulling to strengthen these schools. They should start these schools in the remotest areas of every district,” said tribal activist, Ravindra Talpe.
“Instead of sending 25,000 tribal students to private English schools and spending Rs 50,000 per student, the government can divert these funds towards improvement of infrastructure in EMRS. In addition to excellent facilities in these schools, depute skilled and trained teachers. This will help tribal students seek better quality education,” added Talpe.
“Ashramshalas in the tribal areas are already in poor condition. Only after strengthening these Ashramshalas, the government should think over developing EMRS on the basis of Navodya Vidyalaya. Otherwise, it will end up on similar condition as like ashramshalas,” said Mukund Kirdat, Right To Education activist.
Professor of Anthropology, Anjali Kurane said that before establishing these Ekalavya schools in tribal areas, it is important that government should research the success of already existing schools. “Many sections of tribal population lack the awareness about education. While some are able to access these school facilities as they come from better livelihood, other are unable to face difficulty in availing them. However, it is good that government has planned to strengthen the facility but for imparting quality education, they should understand the reason behind low literacy in these areas,” said Kurane.