Realizing that Scheduled Tribes are one of the most deprived and marginalized groups with respect to education; PREM always gave importance to strengthen the education of the tribal children of its operational areas since its inception. Education of tribal children is considered important not only because of the constitutional obligation but also as a vital input for total development of tribal communities.
As English is the third most important language in India and this language has become the medium of instruction at different level. Realizing this, English medium education is one of the major step initiated by PREM for the Adivasi children. In fulfilling this objective PREM has taken different initiatives since 1997 through preschool education, bridge course, primary education, secondary education, hostel support, vocational and professional trainings. PREM started Central and English medium education in the year 2000 for the first time in Odisha for the Adivasi children with the support of Plan International.
In the year 2007, realizing PREM’s past experience and achievement especially in education, the then District Collector & District Magistrate, Ganjam, Mr. Kartikeya Pandian, IAS, visited our hostel and he was impressed with the performance of the Adivasi children in studies and he requested PREM to keep 39 tribal children from interior pockets of Ganjam district in PREM’s hostel to study in Kendriya Vidyalaya.
In the end of the academic year, the District Collector was very happy with the performance and development of the 39 children. He inspired PREM to support more SC and ST children of Ganjam district for their English medium education. The dream of PREM in educating the children in English Medium has become true.
In 2010, a newly constructed SC and ST government hostel building at Ambapua was inaugurated by the Honourable Chief Minister, Odisha Sri Naveen Patnaik and hand over to PREM for Management. This is the first hostel in Odisha for the Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste children who are continuing their education in the central school.
Presently there are 220 SC and ST children (41boys and 179 girls) are staying in the hostel and studying in Central school and other English medium schools. The children are between the standard of one to standard eight. Besides their schooling, the children are getting tuition support, computer education facility, regular health check up, opportunity for co-curricular activities, regular health check up and nutritious food and care in the hostel.
In this academic year (2014-15), 33 children secured ‘A+’ grade, 30 children ‘A’ grade and rest 129 children scored percentage between 60 to 80 and 80 children were awarded with prizes for their outstanding performances in the different school level competitions in Central School.
Good number of children who study in Kendriya Vidyalaya, by staying in the Urban hostel, managed by PREM are came from PREM’s CBCD centers, where Mother based Multilingual Education is implemented. The children from these center find easy to go for the entrance test and got selected. Today 90 children are studying in the Kendriya Vidyalaya, Golabandha and Kendriya Vidyalaya, Amabapua.
The outstanding performance of these children has proved that providing opportunities to the SC and ST children for getting quality education can enable them to compete with the mainstream society.
PREM is also extremely glad that this has become a model not only in Odisha but also for other states, who come here to visit for understanding and taking up this program in their states. This is a landmark success of the children and achievement for PREM. This support for quality education will enable the children to compete with the globalised world.