Launched nine months ago, it has placed at least one “gothra bandhu”, or a tribal mentor, in each of the 241 government and aided schools in Wayanad district, where Scheduled Tribes form 18.5 per cent of the population of 8,17,420, the highest in Kerala.
These mentors, chosen from within the district, help bridge the language barrier between students and teachers in Class I, and make sure children reach school using free transportation provided by the government. “Our people speak the gothra language ‘nanku math’ (our language), which outsiders can’t understand. A tribal student who joins Class I struggles to understand what a teacher from another community is saying. Also, a teacher from another district finds it difficult to understand what a tribal student is saying. As a mentor, that’s where I help,” says Rajan, a member of the Kattunaikka tribe and mentor.
At Rajan’s school, M J Thresia, the class teacher, says the scheme is changing mindsets in the tribal community.
Read more of this innovative move in a report by Shaju Philip published in The Indian Express...