EDUCATIONAL AND SOCIAL INCLUSION OF TRIBAL MINORITIES: CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF A SCHOOL PILOT PROJECT IN TAMIL NADU
University of Mons (BELGIUM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Conference name: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2013
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:School education is crucial in all global approaches of development and harmony of societies (Buisson, 2009). Education rights and equal access to school structures for all children are in the foreground of priorities of the Government of the Republic of India. However, disparities between States and Union Territories stay significant. Despite political efforts, the universalization of literacy and schooling is hindered by several difficulties, including social and cultural background. Among them, the school integration of children of ethnic and nomadic minorities remains an important problematic (Aggarwal & Aggarwal, 1990; Deka, 2000). Protected by the Constitution, these minorities are still suffering discriminations and stay excluded of the dominant Hindu society. Educational performances of Tamil Nadu are often better than those of other States. Its literacy rate is one of the highest in the country (Rahman, 2005; Oliveau & Chasles, 2005). Since 2010, in order to implement the Indian legislation (free and compulsory school education for all children aged 6 to 14 years), Tamil Government builds educative structures that are still lacking in the country villages. It also pledged to improve the quality of all levels of education. Despite such resolutions and reforms, challenges remain current: a lack of teachers training, gender disparities in professional teams, high dropout students from pre-school. The implementation of different Tribal Sub Plans doesn't solve all the problems of access to the public or private schools for many ethnic, social and cultural minority communities. This is the focus of the research we conducted. Our study is an empirical analysis based on the immersion of a researcher, during three months, within the institution called "APRES School". This was founded in 2009 by a French association, with the official support from the Tamil Department of Education. "APRES School" aims at fostering the educational integration of children of the Narikuravar community, a nomadic tribe. It also welcomes children from the neighboring village, who belong to the poorest strata of the population. Participant observation allows us to analyze administrative, pedagogical and psychosocial functioning of the school, to evaluate its strengths and its weaknesses. The implementation of culturally unsuitable methodologies appears as one of the most important identified difficulties. Intercultural communication between teachers, children and their families is also a source of dysfunction. Our paper will present conceptual and contextual issues of the problematic, the synthesis and a debate of our analysis.
Keywords: Ethnic minorities, cultural discriminations, education rights, social inclusion, society development.