Higher education facilities for tribal students demanded

A group of tribal organisations under the aegis of the Adivasi Gothra Maha Sabha (AGMS) is gearing up to launch a series of agitations raising a slew of demands, including facilities for higher education for all eligible tribal students.

Speaking to mediapersons here on Saturday, M. Geethanandan, State coordinator, Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha, said that 2,009 tribal students in the district were eligible for higher secondary education this year, but only 530 seats are available for them under the 8% reservation for the Scheduled Tribes (ST) quota.

The remaining 1,479 tribal students — most of them from the landless Paniya, Adiya, and Kattunaika communities — were unable to get admission this year, Mr. Geethanandan said.

Though the issue had been recurring every year, the Education Department was yet to adopt any steps to address it, he said.

Hence, the organisation would launch an indefinite agitation from Monday, demanding an increase in the number of seats for Adivasi students immediately, he said.

The organisation would also raise demands such as ensuring seats for degree and higher studies to tribal children, exemption of the application fee for degree courses, waiving fee for tribal children in self financing colleges, and ensuring online study materials for tribal children, he said.

The organisation would take out a protest march to the mini civil station at Sulthan Bathery on Monday at 10 a.m. and stage a dharna in front of it as a part of the agitation, he said.

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