For the first time in the history of the state, Kerala will rope in qualified tribal instructors to impart literacy in their respective settlements.
The initiative, spearheaded by the Kerala Literacy Mission, seeks to replace outside teachers with educated members of various tribes (even if they have minimum qualifications) after giving them expert training.
"This is one of the special missions by the state government to improve literacy rates among tribal populations. Instructors from tribal villages will educate residents in their settlements who are above 15 years of age," said PS Sreekala, Director, Kerala Literacy Mission.
The programme will focus on tribal colonies, including those from the inner districts of Attappady in Palakkad and Wayand.
"With the help of the Scheduled Tribes Development Department, we have also identified 100 villages from the most backward areas across the state for the initiative," she added.
For participants, the programme will provide a platform to pursue higher education in the future.
"Those who have enrolled in this programme (which comes under non-formal education for adults) can later even enrol for the equivalence or formal education courses for adults and get degrees," she said.
A total of 370 tribal instructors, including 100 handpicked from the most backward villages across Kerala, will be trained to take on the responsibility.
The state government will provide these instructors with expert training to equip them to educate their colonies.
"The minimum qualification required to become an instructor is a Class 10 certificate. We are conducting a 'social literacy programme' on March 24 in the capital to train these instructors. Further, they will also receive an honorarium from the state government for their services," she added.
However, according to Sreekala, the programme is more than just a literacy drive.
"This is just the beginning of our efforts to improve literacy in the tribal hamlets of Kerala. Our aim is to integrate these tribal people into the mainstream by achieving their overall upliftment. And the start to that is education," she said.