To increase the intake capacity of tribal schools, the state governmenthas decided to upgrade ashram schools to high schools and high schools to higher secondary schools by 2018-19 academic session.
'Education is the only medium to bridge the gap of inequality. The upgradation of schools will benefit around 1,200 to 1,500 tribal students in availing higher secondary education,' said chief minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurating the annual children's festival, Saragi Phul, for students of schools run by ST and SC development department at the adivasi ground here on Tuesday.
Naveen said at present 8,000 tribal children from interior districts are studying in different private English-medium schools in various cities and district headquarters under the Anwesha scheme. There are a total 1,760 schools under the department of which 21 ashram schools will be upgraded to high schools and 65 high schools will have Plus III classes.
As many as 250 hostels to accommodate children studying in elite schools will be set up under Anwesha scheme. At present, around 1,000 tribal students pursuing higher education are staying in two hostels in Bhubaneswar, three more hostels will be set up in Rourkela, Sambalpur and Berhampur soon, Naveen said.
Over 2,000 tribal students from across the state took part in a three-day children's festival where they showcased their talents and learned different skills. A number of workshops were conducted like 'best from the waste', child reporting, terracotta and pottery, magic show, puppet show, storytelling, photography, dance and music.
'The department is also planning to introduce vocational training programme for school dropouts to increase their employability. Things are in the planning stage now,' said department secretary Surendra Kumar.
Children showcased many innovative and unique projects in a science exhibition held as a part of the Saragi Phul. 'I eagerly wait for the whole year to come to Saragi Phul. We enjoy a lot here and get to learn many new things and make new friends. I personally love the storytelling session when we are asked to make illustration of a story and later it will be published,' said Ashok Munda, a Class X student from Mayurbhanj district.