| Driving Odisha towards educational excellence

Making Right to Education Work

Sikshasandhan has been working in Kaptipada block of Mayurbhanj district of Odisha since 2010. The main purpose of its work is to develop strategies, tools and approaches for bringing tribal children to school and to influence classroom curriculum, pedagogy and school management in the context of RTE Act of 2009. Initially the project started in 12 villages of Kalamagadia Gram Panchayat, and subsequently it has been expanded to 58 schools in six tribal dominated Gram Panchayats in the district. Sikshasandhan works at the following levels:

For improving teaching learning practices in the schools, Sikshasandhan has taken a two pronged approach:
a) Mothertongue-based interaction by language teachers appointed by Sikshasandhan.
b) Building capacities of government school teachers on teaching children in multi-grade and multilingual situations. Sikshasandhan has also developed the necessary learning materials to support this method (e.g. story books for children, village history, riddles, picture cards, hand writing books, etc.) More than 10,000 children from tribal communities getting benefit from of the programme.

Odisha is one of the major states of India having a large concentration of tribal population. The population of Scheduled Tribes in Odisha is 8,145,081 which is 9.67% of the tribal population of the country and 21.1% of the total population of the state as per the 2001 Census. Odisha houses 62 tribal communities out of the 573 recognised as Scheduled Tribes in the country as per the Article 342 of the Constitution. The overall literacy rate of the STs is 37.4% as against the literacy rate for the state of Odisha that stands at 63.08 % as per the 2001 census. Compared to the literacy rates of men and women from the general category in the state (that stand at 75.35 % and 50.51% respectively), the corresponding rates amongst the STs of the state of Odisha (at 51.5% and 23.37% respectively) paint a stark picture. The female literacy rates in the six major tribal-dominated districts of the state are lower than the state avreage. In view of this, Sikshasandhan's work holds a lot of meaning, for its unique kind of intervention for spreading education in tribal areas taking into account the educational needs of tribal communities at the micro-level.

In this light, Sikshasandhans interventions for spreading education in tribal areas taking into account the educational needs of tribal communities at the micro-level holds a lot of meaning.