Socio- Psychological, Economic Conditions and Educational Backwardness of Tribes: A Study on Selected Tribes of Kerala

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Ahammedul Kabeer A. P.


            Kerala is the cynosure of world attention as it gets encomium in the development debate centered on human development.  Its development approach encapsulated in the ‘Kerala Model’ stands now historically vindicated. That the model is inclusive, equitable and sustainable has been accepted far and wide.  The centerpiece of the ‘Model’ is its broad social base.  However, notwithstanding the pats on the back for enabling to attain an HDI (Human Development Index) closer to that of highly developed societies, the ‘Model’ is used to conceal many dark areas.  Most specifically, there is insufficient attention devoted to honestly addressing and analyzing the problems faced by marginalized communities, especially the tribal folks despite continuous emphasis on policy circles.   Sending children to school is a social norm in Kerala, the State that has achieved cent percent literacy and where the health and HDI indicators are comparable to that of United States.  Is this true for the tribal communities?

              Kerala introduced several tribal education schemes right from the inception of development planning.  As a result, literacy rate among the tribesfolk has improved considerably.  Yet, the gap in literacy of the tribal community compared to other groups in the State is still large.  The positive discrimination aimed at bringing this group at par with other communities in the State has found   success, albeit slowly.  The representation of tribes in secondary education, higher education and employment is far from satisfactory.  In this context, a micro level study is conducted to understand the reasons for the lagged performance of tribal community in the matter of education in Kerala.   

            The major findings of this study indicates that the main factor accounting for low educational achievements and low aspirations on the part of the tribesfolks is their poor social and economic condition. In addition to their economic condition, the inter-community differences in socio-economic conditions and the status of education are wide among them. Most of the government incentives for their educational purpose are under- utilized.

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