By Rajnish Singh
New Delhi, Aug 28 (IANS) The central government has expedited a project to open 462 new Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs) for tribal students by 2022, a move in its continuous journey of expansion to impart quality education to tribal children in remote areas.
The purpose is to enable the future tribal generation to avail opportunities in high and professional educational courses and get employment in various sectors.
Of the 462 new EMRSs, a Tribal ministry data says, 92 will be established in Odisha, 70 in Jharkhand, 50 in Chhattisgarh and 40 in Madhya Pradesh.
As per revised 2018 EMRS scheme, every block with more than 50 per cent Scheduled Tribe population and at least 20,000 tribal persons will have an EMRS by 2022. These schools will be at par with Navodaya Vidyalayas and will have special facilities for preserving local art and culture besides providing training in sports and skill development.
Officials in the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, the leading ministry working for the welfare of tribals, have been asked to expedite the scheme which has to face a backlog in construction work due to ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a source privy to the development, told IANS.
These schools will have special facilities for preserving local art and culture also. As per the Centre’s plan, an autonomous society, on the lines of the Navodaya Vidayalaya Samiti, will be set up to run these ERMSs.
These schools focus not only on academic education but on the all-round development of the students. Each school has a capacity of 480 students, catering to students from Class VI to XII. Hitherto, grants were given for construction of schools and recurring expenses to the state governments under Grants under Article 275 (1) of the Constitution.
Fifty EMRSs were proposed to be constructed in the 2018-19 fiscal. Hundred such schools will be established in the next financial year, 150 in 2020-21 and 162 in 2021-22, Oram said.The government has also enhanced the recurring cost per EMRS student per year from the existing Rs 61,500 to Rs 1,09,000 from 2019-20.
10 per cent seats in such schools will be allotted to non-ST students.Priority will be given to children of EMRS staff, those who have lost their parents to Left Wing Extremism and insurgencies and children of widows, the ministry said.
Since its beginning in 1997-98, as per Ministry of Tribal Affairs website, the Ministry till date has sanctioned 271 EMRSs, out of which 190 have been made functional while the rest are at different stages of completion.Of the total, 29 EMRSs are in Madhya Pradesh; 27 in Gujarat; 25 in Chhattisgarh; 15 in Rajasthan; 14 in Maharashtra; 13 in Odisha; 10 in Karnataka; nine in Telangana; seven each in West Bengal and Jharkhand; six in Tamil Nadu; four each in Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Tripura; three each in Manipur and Nagaland; two each in Mizoram, Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh; and one in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Across the country, as per census 2011 figures, there are 564 such sub-districts out of which there is an EMRS in 102 sub-districts.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at [email protected])