For the 5,000-odd tribal people of Wayanad, March 25 may prove to be a momentous day, as most of them will be facing the first ever examination in their lifetime, and clearing it will make them the proud holders of fourth standard pass-out certificates.
The first phase of the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority’s literacy class has evoked overwhelming response in the tribal hamlets of Wayanad. At the last count, 5,729 participants from 283 tribal hamlets were actively participating in the programme. KSLMA authority ventured into the tribal belt of Wayanad with its literacy programme after a similar project in the Attappadi region of Palakkad proved a remarkable success. The programme aims at eliminating illiteracy among tribal community members, rekindling a passion for learning among them through equivalent courses, and imparting civic sense through education.
Initially, around 300 among the 2,975 tribal colonies are being targeted, accounting for 31,831 people. Majority of them belong to Paniya and Kattunaikka communities. A survey covering the colonies found that there were 9,751 illiterates of whom 6,044 were women. Among illiterates, 5,474 are aged between 15 and 50 years, while 4,277 are above 50. According to the 2011 Census, of Wayanad’s total population of 8,17,420, tribal people accounted for 1,51,443, the highest concentration in the State.
KSLMA was careful to ensure that at least half of the 600 instructors selected for the project were from tribal communities. Experienced Preraks have also been deployed to coordinate the programme in association with local bodies.