August 1, 2017
Kottayam: It is a mission success in educating children in the tribal panchayat of Edamalakkudy deep in the thick forests in Devikulam taluk in Idukki district of Kerala.
A 13-km bumpy jeep drive from Devikulam to Pettimudy and then a 22-km trek brings one to Edamalakkudy, says V Shaji, teacher of a government school at Poomala.
Sharing border with Valparai and Uthamapalayam in Tamil Nadu, the residents of the village are conservative tribes people unwilling to interact with the world outside and speak in a dialect close to Tamil.
Comprising mainly of the Muthuvan community, the villagers are not keen to educate their children, says Shaji, who has been assigned by the government to coordinate the literacy programme in the difficult regions in Idukki.
Only a few send their children to the single teacher schools or Multi Grade Learning Centres (MGLC) operated by the government in difficult regions of the Western Ghats.
As a result, the government decided to convert the MGLC to primary schools to create better environment and facility.
This seems to have gone well with Edamalakkudy where one new primary school at Mulaguthara has attracted 31 students. This school was created by merging five MGLCs. The main attraction is the free boarding and lodging for students provided by Edamalakkudy panchayat and the Parents’ Teachers’ Association.
One more primary school will be set up by merging the remaining single teacher schools, he said.