Tribal organisations warn of agitations if number of reservation seats is not increased
The commendable performance by tribal children of Wayanad in the SSLC examinations in the past few years has created a different kind of crisis in the region with hundreds of tribal students failing to find admission to Plus One courses under the single-window admission procedure.
As many as 2,009 tribal students in the district are 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, says M. Geethanandan, State coordinator, Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha (AGMS).
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.
The tribal students could not afford to apply for admission in other districts, considering the geographical isolation of Wayanad and the miserable condition of their families, he said.
Though the issue had been recurring every year, the Education Department was yet to adopt any steps to address it, he said.
If the government failed to increase the number of seats for Adivasi students immediately, the tribal organisations would launch a series of agitations to address the issue, Mr. Geethanandan said.
A spot admission process was organised for tribal students who failed to get admission through the single-window process last year, and only 422 tribal students of the 666 eligible applicants got admission, he added.
“A majority of the tribal students tend to choose the Humanities stream but only 158 seats are available under reservation for ST students. Hence, many an eligible student would face the risk of becoming a drop-out,” he said.
The Adi Shakti Summer School, a collective of Adivasi and Dalit youths under the AGMS, has organised a team of volunteers this year to assist Adivasi students to navigate the online admission process.
“The team has found it difficult to track down every single student because they do not have access or are not familiar with Internet and the modern communication facilities,” , Mary Libiya, coordinator of the collective, said.