Education for tribal children: An engine for human development


Malyadri, Pacha*
Principal, Government Degree College, Osmania University, Andhra Pradesh, India (


The Indian Constitution assigns special status to the Scheduled Tribes (STs). Traditionally referred to as adivasis, vanbasis, tribes, or tribals; STs constitute about 8% of the Indian population. There are around 573 Scheduled Tribes living in different parts of the country, having their own languages different from the one mostly spoken in the State where they live. There are more than 270 such languages in India. Accordingly to the 2001 census, the tribal population in India is about 67.8 million. The largest number of tribals is in the undivided Madhya Pradesh (16.40 million), followed by Orissa (7 million) and Bihar (6.6 million). However, the largest proportion of tribals in total population is in Mizoram (95%), followed by Lakshadweep (93%), Nagaland (88%), Meghalaya (86%), and Arunachal Pradesh (64%). Nine States – Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, and West Bengal; together account for more than four-fifth of the tribal population in India. The term tribe or tribal is not defined anywhere in the Constitution although according to Article 342, ST represents the tribe or tribal communities that are notified by the President. Tribes are not part of the traditional Hindu caste structure. STs in India are more similar to the “indigenous” or “native people” in other parts of the world. Realizing that Scheduled Tribes are one of the most deprived and marginalized groups with respect to education, a host of programs and measures were initiated during the Independence. Elementary education is a priority area in the Tribal sub-plans from the 5th Five Year Plan. Education of ST children is considered important, not only because of the Constitutional obligation but also as a crucial input for the total development of tribal communities. The present paper made an attempt to analyze the problems in the field of Tribal children education and suggest measures for the development of education among the Tribals in Khammam District of Andhra Pradesh state in India. The study reveals that People of the remote area are superstitious and addicted to blind beliefs. Hence, they do not understand the value of education.

Keywords: tribal groups; scheduled tribes; drop-out problem; human values; indigenous education



*Corresponding Author