Battling various odds from poverty to backwardness, nearly 13,000 members of various tribal communities in Kerala have been initiated into the world of letters in the last two years under different schemes, the state Literacy Mission said here on Monday. The state-run agency, which designed special literacy programmes for the marginalised sections, had already covered Wayanad and Attappady, the major tribal settlements, besides 100 selected hamlets across the state.
Under various schemes, a total of 12,968 tribal people, have become literate across the state in the last two years, according to the figures released by the Mission.
Of this, 7,302 people had become literate in Wayanad through a special literacy drive while 3,760 had been initiated into the world of letters in Attapady block through an equivalency scheme.
The Mission director, P S Sreekala, said the tribal literacy programmes would be expanded to more settlements in view of the good response.
“We have roped in instructors from the tribal community to teach the illiterate tribals. This is one of the reasons for the success of the programme. Our objective is to eradicate illiteracy completely from the tribal hamlets of the state in a phased manner,” she said.
With the support of the all-women network, Kudumbashree, the Literacy Mission is now gearing up to launch the programme at Aralam farm in Kannur district, where a majority of inhabitants are tribals.
Of the total 1,600 families living in six blocks of the farm, a majority are believed to be illiterate.
A survey to identify the illiterates would begin on November 12 by the students of Payyannur Kalady University.
Based on the information collected through the survey, a total of 10 classrooms, which can accommodate 25 people at a stretch, would be set up in six blocks of the Aralam farm, Literacy Mission officials said adding that the duration of the course would be three months.
As per the approach paper for the 12th Five Year Plan approved by the State Planning Board, Kerala is estimated to have 18 lakh illiterates and 12 lakh neo-literates, the Mission website said.
They found that pockets of illiteracy are urban slums, coastal areas and tribal settlements which needs to receive special attention, it said.
Meanwhile, as many as 697 people appeared for the Aksharasree literacy examination of the mission held at Vatiyoorkavu here on Sunday with the oldest being a 91-year old woman and the youngest a 26-year old.
Three generations of a family were among those who wrote the examination.