Dr. V. Paramsivan
Abstract: In India 67.7 million people belonging to "Scheduled Tribes" are generally considered to be 'Adivasis', literally meaning 'indigenous people' or 'original inhabitants'. Out of the 5653 distinct communities in India, 635 are considered to be 'tribes' or 'Adivasis'. The Scheduled Tribe population represents one of the most economically Impoverished and marginalized groups in India. Although Scheduled Tribes are a minority, they constitute about 8.2 % of the total population in India (Census of India, 2001), or 85 million people in absolute number. The Scheduled Tribes are not discriminated against in the same way by the mainstream Hindu population as the Scheduled Caste population in India. While the latter group belongs to the lowest hierarchy of social order and is often considered impure or unclean, the Scheduled Tribes have, for the most part, been socially distanced and living outside the mainstream Hindu society.. About 93% of the tribal people live in rural areas (Census of India, 1981) and are engaged in agricultural pursuits. There are more than 400 tribal groups among the scheduled tribe population, each with their distinct cultures, social practices, religions, dialects, and occupations. Thus, the different tribal groups are highly heterogeneous, and their differences are a function of the environment in which they live, the degree of exposure to the mainstream Hindu population, government involvement in their education, daily lives, their economic status, and past history. The tribes are scattered in all States and Union Territories in India except for the states of Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, and Chandigarh. The tribes are heavily concentrated in the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland although they constitute a small percentage of the total tribal population in India. Literacy and educational attainment are powerful indicators of social and economic development among the backward groups in India. During the British rule there was no organized method to educate the tribal communities except for the work undertaken by Christian missionary organizations in some regions in India. Currently, the tribes lag behind not only the general population but also the Scheduled Caste population in literacy and educational attainment. Education being the most effective instrument of empowering the Socially Disadvantaged Groups, all out efforts should be made to improve the educational status of these groups, especially that of the women and the Girl Child. In fact, the educational backwardness, prevalent amongst these people, necessitates an added thrust on their education, training and skill up gradation, as it will bring forth not only social empowerment but also economic empowerment. In these articles is attempt to expose the status of the educational level among the tribal community in India.
Keywords: Adivasi People in India