The Tribal Affairs Ministry intends to go ahead with its plan to build new Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) on 15 acres of land in all sub-districts which have Scheduled Tribe communities of more than 20,000 people, who make up at least 50% of their total population. This is despite a Parliamentary panel saying that this criteria is “impractical”.

 

Background

  • Earlier this year, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment recommended immediate review of criteria of having 15 acres of continuous land.
  • The committee had pointed out significant difficulties in identifying and acquiring lands in several districts, especially in forested or hilly areas where a contiguous 15-acre plot is hard to find.
  • This criterion would also deprive scattered ST populations of the benefit of the Eklavya schools, the panel said.
  • However, the Tribal Affairs Ministry said that these criteria were decided and finalised by the Union Cabinet and the ministry intends to go ahead with it.
  • In keeping with the government’s intent, President Draupadi Murmu laid the foundation stones for seven more such Eklavya schools in Jharkhand on Janjatiya Gaurav Divas on November 15.

 

About Eklavya Model Residential School (EMRS)

  • EMRS started in 1997-98 with the aim of imparting quality education to children belonging to Scheduled Tribes (ST) in remote areas.
  • The EMRS aims to enable students to avail of opportunities in high and professional educational courses and get employment in various sectors.
  • The schools focus not only on academic education but on the all-round development of the students.
  • Each school has a capacity of 480 students, catering to students from Class VI to XII.
  • These are being set up by grants provided under Article 275(1) of the Constitution.
  • Nodal Ministry – Ministry of Tribal Affairs
  • Eklavya Model Day Boarding Schools (EMDBS) –
    • Wherever density of ST population is higher in identified Sub-Districts (90% or more), it is proposed to set up Eklavya Model Day Boarding School (EMDBS) on an experimental basis.
    • This is aimed at providing additional scope for ST Students seeking to avail school education without residential facility.

 

Latest changes made by the Ministry

  • In order to give further impetus to EMRS, it has been decided that by the year 2022, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons, will have an EMRS.
  • Eklavya schools will be on par with Navodaya Vidyalaya and will have special facilities for preserving local art and culture besides providing training in sports and skill development.
  • Across the country, as per census 2011 figures, there are 564 such sub-districts out of which there is an EMRS in 102 sub-districts. Thus, 462 new schools have to be opened by the year 2022.