Now, a tribal kid in Wayanad will get to experience a collector’s job for a day, thanks to the novel initiative by Wayanad collector S Suhas, to reduce dropout rates in schools in the district.
The student chosen in ‘A day with the collector’ initiative will join the collector on February 20 to carry out all the administrative duties in the district and official visits made on the day. The aim is to inspire and motivate the tribal student to study better.
The initiative was launched under the ‘Drop-out free Wayanad’ program to encourage more tribal students to continue their academic journey.
Speaking to TNM, Wayanad Collector Suhas said, “Despite Kerala recording extremely low student drop out rates, Wayanad district, 33% of which comprises of tribal communities, records an appalling dropout rate of 2.51%, which is probably among the highest in the country.”
Explaining the reason behind these high drop-out levels, Suhas said, “The harvesting season in Wayanad starts in December and this is when maximum dropouts are recorded. Students go and work in these plantations as it is easy money and owners also employ them as they have to pay lesser than the standard rates. Further, some students accompany their parents who go to Coorg to labour in the coffee plantations.”
‘A day with the collector’
The initiative will focus on students from the Kattunayikka, Paniya, Adiya, Cholanayikka, Kuruma and Erali tribal communities and students would be chosen based on their academic performance and class attendance.
“I have invited students to write letters to me on what they would do if they were to be the Collector. From this, we will select applications for the next round. We are focusing on kids from the 7th grade as we have found out that dropouts are maximum at that age-group for some reason,” said Suhas.
On the response that he received until now, the collector said, “We have been receiving a lot of letters until now. The students have written to me in Malayalam, which is the language they are most familiar with after their native tongue. From some letters, it is pretty evident that their parents have helped them. Unfortunately, we have to reject these applications. What’s great is that there is so much variety in the answers I have received. I have even got letters in the form of drawings,” he added.
The selection committee will comprise of representatives from the district education department, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the district labour office, according to the Collector.
Further, the selected applicants will attend a leadership workshop conducted by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. From this, the most promising student will be chosen to carry out official duties with the District Collector on February 20.
“We will check the attendance records of all the students before choosing the winner. I am not too hung up on their academic performance as they are small children. However, attendance is very important,” Suhas added
The Collector hopes to inspire students with this heart-warming initiative. However, this is not the first time that such programs have been organised for these tribal kids.
“Last month, we took students for a ride in the Kochi metro. It was super fun and the kids were very excited as most of them hadn’t been out of Wayanad until then,” Suhas said.