ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Community Self-governance in Education

The dominant discourse in relation to education of Scheduled Tribes and other so-called weaker sections remains mostly concerned with logistics of providing a package. The inherited colonial dispensation that controls education, its institutions, and governance, is treated as a given absolute. It is to be recognised that not merely education for all, but the democratisation of education lies at the core of justice in education. The struggles for self-determination and self-governance by Adivasis have provided ample legal space to alter the present governance in education to democratise and establish community self-governance in education.

This article draws from a paper presented at the National Seminar on the topic “Educational Development of Tribal People and Internal Migration in the Twentieth Century Malabar, Kerala,” at the Pazhassiraja College, Pulpally, Wayanad, Kerala on 28–29 November 2018.

The status of Scheduled Tribes (STs) in formal education at all levels is the lowest amongst all social groups in the country. At the same time, they continue to be the holders of vast knowledge and skills, often unique, inhabiting a rich natural terrain. They are also subject to development aggression as are, and are disproportionately displaced and marginalised. Their homelands are officially acknowledged to be misgoverned, conflict-ridden, backward, wallowing in development deficit, and neglected in public service coverage (Government of India 2008: 74–76). Yet, they remained relatively free from the feudal and colonial subjugation as compared to the non-tribals, always persistent in their resistance, in order to remain free and self-governing.

Precisely for these reasons, they were brought under the Scheduled District Act, 1874 and later the “Excluded Areas and Partially Excluded Areas” under the Government of India Act, 1935, which excluded them from the purview of ­British laws. Regional laws too were ­enacted with similar intent in varying degrees as the Wilkinson Rule, 1837,1 the Inner Line Permit under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873,2 the Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act, 1876, and the Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act, 1908.3 These were the antecedents for the constitutional provisions of the Fifth4 and Sixth5 Schedules under Article 244, the special constitutional provisions, such as Articles 371A and 371G for Nagaland and Mizoram, respectively,6 state enactments on the lines of the Sixth Schedule with considerably less powers,7 and state laws to prevent alienation of land and their restoration when alienated (Bijoy 2010).

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Updated On : 27th May, 2020
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