ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Educational Deprivation of the Tribes

Insights from the Block–level Study

The paper examines the nature of tribal deprivation, with specific focus on the issue of education. The research delves into the supply– and the demand–side factors, which determined the state of education within a region. Reaffirming the deprivation faced by the tribal communities, the study identifies specific factors that cause marginalisation. It points to the failure of the uniform tribal development programme to deal with the context–specific problems and thereby achieving the targeted results. The paper suggests the importance of not assuming the homogeneity of tribal societies, and need for public policies that are sensitive to this fact, in order to translate the goal of empowerment into a reality.

The authors deeply acknowledge the valuable comments and suggestions of the anonymous referee who meticulously reviewed the initial draft of this paper. They appreciate the opportunity to this paper at XIV International Conference on Public Policy and Management, IIM Bangalore, and departmental seminars held at Christ University, Bengaluru, and Adamas University, Kolkata. The authors acknowledge the insightful comments and suggestions of the panelists and incorporated most of the comments. The usual disclaimer, however, applies. 

In the post–independence Indian society, tribal communities remained the most disadvantaged group, leading to the enactment of constitutional provisions to safeguard their interests. There are over 104.5 million people in 705 communities recognised as the Scheduled Tribes, comprising 8.6% of the total population of the country (Census 2011). Most often, the justification of their marginalisation is looked upon by mainstream studies as lack of education which plays a pivotal role contributing to their marginalised status (Sarkar et al 2006; Javalkar and Anderson 2014). Though institutional education is a widely acknowledged yardstick to measure development in India, with respect to the tribal communities it is important to consider the historical and sociological context of modern education.

Xaxa (2021) delves into the question of education within a broader sociopolitical context of the ideological project of the British colonialists who aimed to “civilise” the tribes, with education serving as a pivotal tool. The residential schools, governed by the Christian missionaries, became an effective strategy for this purpose. Except in the north–eastern region of India, where the larger objective of education was assimilation to the European way of life, in other regions the main agenda was to integrate the tribes into the dominant regional linguistic community at the cost of erosion of tribal languages and cultures. Apart from the residential schools, the ashram schools inspired by the ideology of M K Gandhi and state–run schools commonly referred to as zila schools also played a major role. Despite their initial purpose of uplifting the tribes, the cultural alienation of the learners continued.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

Pay INR 200.00

(Readers in India)

Pay $ 12.00

(Readers outside India)

Updated On : 5th Sep, 2023
Back to Top