Tribal University remains a riddle for educationists
Tribal University remains a riddle for educationists

Visakhapatnam: Though everyone is demanding setting up of Tribal University in Andhra Pradesh, no one knows what it is all about. The concept has not been made known to everyone. “We do not know vision, mission, objectives, programmes that would be offered, teaching methods and so on,” educationists said.

The educationists included academicians, vice-chancellors of various universities say they do not know how the tribal university is being structured. They point out that tribal university will not be sustainable unless primary, secondary and college education for tribals has not been fortified. In Andhra Pradesh, the students’ dropout rate in schools is very high.

Of 100 students who pass out of SSC, only 65 go to Intermediate education and of them only 40 per cent seek admission to degree colleges. When it comes to master’s degree, it is only 12 to 14 per cent of those who pass out of degree colleges.

Senior professors say that instead of strengthening existing universities, the Centre is coming out with the concept of tribal university only to garner votes of the tribals in the elections. Except in major universities, 40 to 50 per cent of seats reserved for tribals in other universities remain vacant and one can imagine what will be fate of the tribal university, a senior professor points out.

“What is this tribal university? Is it exclusively for Adivasi students? If so, what programmes would be offered at this university? It would be an intelligent idea if such a university gives priority to protect tribal languages that are fast vanishing. Arts and crafts, engineering skills have to be taught to students at the university. If the government seeks opinions, we are ready to give some,” said Prof PD Satya Paul, head of Anthropology Department of Andhra University.

“If the government is really concerned about tribals and wants to set up university for their welfare, it is a welcome decision. But everything that the university offers should be to further the welfare of the tribals. The medium has to be in English,” said former AU vice-chancellor GSN Raju who is now vice-chancellor of Centurion University.

Public-spirited organisations say they do not know what the tribal university is. “Even after four years, the Centre has not come around to setting up one. In Madhya Pradesh there is one tribal university where there are 2,628 students, of whom 1,084 are tribals. The rest are SCs and BCs. The tribal university will help in improving the percentage of tribals accessing higher education. 

Besides, such universities would work to conserve languages, culture and traditions of the tribals. The government, without any further delay, should start the work relating to setting up of the university,” said A Ajay Sharma, general secretary of Forum for Development of North Andhra.