The All India literacy rates of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes are 21.38 and 16.35 percent respectively as against 41.20 of non-SC/ST population according to 1981 census. The literacy rates of women for the above categories are 10.93, 8.04 and 29.43 percent respectively.
The proportion of enrolment of SC/ST children continues to be much less than their population proportion and the dropout rate continues to be very high at all levels of education; the problem is more severe in case of girls of these communities. The situation calls for systematic efforts directed towards the educational development of SC/ST.
The Central focus in the SC/ST educational development is their equilisation with the non-SC population at all stages and levels of education in all areas and in all the four dimensions – rural male, rural female, urban male and urban female.
(i) Incentives to indigent families to send their children to school regularly till they reach the age of 14.
(ii) Pre-matric Scholarship scheme for children of families engaged in occupations such as scavenging, flaying and tanning to be made applicable from Class I onwards. All children of such families, regardless of incomes, will be covered by this scheme and time-bound programmes targeted on them will be undertaken.
(iii) Constant micro-planning and verification to ensure that the enrolment, retention and successful completion of courses by SC students do not fall at any stage, and provision of remedial courses to improve their prospects for further education and employment.
(iv) Recruitment of teachers from Scheduled Castes.
(v) Provision of facilities for SC students in students’ hostels at district headquarters, according to a phased programme.
(vi) Location of school buildings, Balwadis and Adult Education Centres in such a way as to facilitate full participation of the Scheduled Castes.
(vii) The utilization of N.R.E.P. and R.L.E.G.P. resources so as to make substantial educational facilities available to the Scheduled Castes; and
(viii)Constant innovation in finding new methods to increase the participation of the Scheduled Castes in the educational process
(i) Priority will be accorded to opening primary schools in tribal areas. The constitution of school building will be undertaken in these areas on a priority basis under the normal funds for education, as well as under the N.R.E.P, R.L.E.G.P, Tribal welfare scheme, etc.
(ii) The socio-cultural milieu of the STs has its distinctive characteristics including, in man] cases, their own spoken languages. This underlines the need to develop the curricula ant devise instructional materials in tribal languages at the initial stages with arrangements for switching over to the regional language.
(iii) Educated and promising Scheduled Tribe youths will be encouraged and trained to take up teaching in tribal areas.
(iv) Residential schools, including Ashram Schools will be established on a large scale.
(v) Incentive schemes will be formulated for the Scheduled Tribes keeping in view their special needs and life styles. Scholarships for higher education will emphasise technical profession^ and para-professional courses. Special remedial courses and other programmes to remove psycho-social impediments will be provided to improve their performance in various courses
(vi) Anganwadis, Non-formal and Adult Education Centres will be opened on a priority basis in areas predominantly inhabited by the Scheduled Tribes.
(vii) The curriculum at all stages of education will be designed to create an awareness of the rich cultural identity to the tribal people as also of their enormous creative talent.
Suitable incentives will be provided to all educationally backward sections of society, particularly in the rural areas, ill and desert districts, remote and inaccessible areas and islands will be provided adequate institutional infrastructure.
Minorities Education (NPE Recommendations):
The N.P.E. on the education of the minorities states, “Some minority groups are educationally deprived or backward. Greater attention will be paid to the education of these groups in the interest of equality and social justice. This will naturally include the constitutional guarantees given to them to establish and administer their own educational institutions and protection to their languages and culture.
Simultaneously, objectivity will be reflected in the preparation of text books and in all school activities, and all possible measures will be taken to promote and integration based on appreciation of common national goals and ideals, in conformity with the core curriculum.