As a part of its webinar series, the School of Social Services and Administration, Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) Deemed to be University organized an International Webinar on ‘Importance of Tribal Education in India: Issues and Challenges’ on 7th August, 2020. The Webinar aimed to discuss issues and challenges facing tribal community’s access to quality education and take a step forward towards SDG – 4; i.e., Quality Education. Eminent academicians and experts in the field from across the world participated in the webinar.

“Education not only is the key to economic development of the tribes, but also empowers them to face the emerging challenges”, remarked the speakers. They expressed happiness that KISS has been relentlessly working to meet the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Prof. Christine Finnan, Chair and Professor of Anthropology, USA, elaborated on international issues in educating the rural indigenous population and presented a comparative picture of India, Australia and the USA. “Vocational training is the strength of KISS”, she said, while appreciating the fact that KISS has succeeded in generating a pan-tribal identity. During her stay at KISS as a Fulbright scholar, she realized that KISS is on the right path and a model for other residential schools to emulate. Prof. Finnan also praised the selfless work of the founder of KISS, Prof. Achyuta Samanta for the last three decades.

Prof. Satya Narayan Munda, Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee University, Ranchi threw light on the economic, cultural, traditional and linguistic aspects of tribal communities. He focused on the need for new ways and means of research and training due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Tribal ecosystem is important and glorification of tribal knowledge is the need of the hour”, said Prof. Nagraju Gundemeda, Department of Sociology, Central University, Hyderabad. Stating the tribal population is a victim of state and geographical isolation, he insisted on the implementation of the three-language formula for their education. Taking cue from the success of North East States language policy for tribal needs to be reformed, Prof. Gundemeda suggested. KISS has done commendable work in the field of tribal education, he added.

Earlier, Prof. Harekrushna Satapathy, Vice-Chancellor, KISS-DU welcomed the distinguished panelists and spoke on the significance of the subject. He highlighted how KISS has been contributing to increase the literacy rate of the tribal population. He stated the reasons for high dropouts elsewhere and shared how KISS has succeeded in creating a platform to deal with the issues.

Dr. Prashanta Kumar Routray, CEO, KISS and Registrar KISS-DU introduced the dignitaries to the virtual gathering. He pointed out the various challenges that are pulling back tribal education. Referring to the New Education Policy 2020, Dr. Routray said that focus should be laid on the neglected sections of the society.

Mr. Tushar Senapati, Dy. Director, KISS-DU, speaking from his personal experience, highlighted some of the myths associated with tribal education and the initiatives taken by KISS. He discussed about the importance of the Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education programme running at KISS and how the students are deriving benefits from that. In addition to education and vocational training, KISS also lays equal importance on sports and students choose the option that suits them, he added.

The stimulating Webinar was attended by faculty members and research scholars of KISS (DU). Discussion was followed by a question-answer session. Dr. Iswar Naik, Associate Professor and Associate Dean, KISS proposed the vote of thanks.