“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” These words of Nelson Mandela have stood the test of time and are relevant even today. The government of Chhattisgarh understands this well and is working on mission mode to educate tribal students in the state.

The state has come up with various innovative schemes and is reaching out to tribal students at their native places.

Chhattisgarh, which has been bearing the brunt of Left Wing Extremism (LWE), feels the pain of people living in difficult conditions. That is why the government has a special focus on sensitive regions and has come up with novel schemes like education city, Prayas schools and special coaching centers.

Education at doorstep

The state government has established education city on an area of 170 acres in Javanga village of South Bastar (Dantewada district) at a cost of Rs 100 crore. In the education city, children of Naxal violence affected families are provided education facility from primary schools to higher secondary schools, along with technical training and technical education. ITI and polytechnic centers have also been established in this city for technical training and education.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited the education city on 9 May 2015 during his Bastar tour. He was impressed to see the education facilities there. The education city also has Saksham School for specially-abled children. The PM had also praised the use of modern technology in Saksham School in training and education of specially-abled children. He had also observed the speech therapy and other training facilities available for speech and hearing impaired children in schools. It is the first school of Chhattisgarh with the facility of education in Braille script and library of books in Braille script. The facility of physiotherapy is also available.

Prayas Residential Schools

Prayas Residential Schools have been established in all five divisional headquarters—Raipur, Durg, Bilaspur, Jagdalpur and Ambikapur for education of children from Naxal-affected tribal populated districts. The first Prayas Residential School was established in Gudiyari, capital city Raipur, which was inaugurated in July 2010. Later, it was established in four divisional headquarters of state. In 2016, 27 students of Prayas Schools cracked AIEEE and were selected in prestigious institutions such as IIT, IIIT, and Indian School of Mines. Chief Minister Raman Singh invited these students and their family members to his residence and provided laptops to each one of them. Meritorious students of Class 10 are given admission in Class 11 at the Prayas School and provided free coaching for competitive exams such as PMT, PET and JEE along with regular studies of Classes 11 and 12. These schools are run by the Tribal Caste and Scheduled Caste Development Department. As many as 14 students of these schools have been selected in medical colleges, after they cracked the Chhattisgarh PMT.

Tribal youth hostel, New Delhi

For enabling tribal youths to compete at national level examinations like civil services, the Chhattisgarh Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste Development department is running the Tribal Youth Hostel in New Delhi. The hostel, situated in the Dwarika area in New Delhi, provides free of cost lodging and boarding facility for selected students to pursue UPSC coaching.

Apart from aspirants preparing for civil services, postgraduate students who are willing to appear in competitive examinations of different national level educational institutions are also given admission in the hostel.

The tribal youth hostel had started in 2013-14 with 23 applicants; the same year, nine students managed to crack the Chhattisgarh Public Service Exam (CGPSC). In 2014-15, 10 students qualified CGPSC out of which one applicant was appointed at the post of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP).

In addition to food and lodging facilities, other facilities like well-equipped library, daily travel allowances are also provided by the department. From time to time, orientation sessions and interactions with senior government officers are also held in the tribal hostel. In this way, the tribal hostel provides a very competitive and qualitative milieu to dedicated aspirants. Recently, three candidates of from the hostel managed to crack the civil services examination. Dr Gagan Giri Goswami of the hostel managed to secure the 710th rank in the UPSC exams. Likewise, Lal Das got the 746th rank and Pyush Kumar Lahre of the hostel managed to get 977th rank.

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