The Constitution of India prescribes certain protection and safeguards for the scheduled tribes (along with the scheduled castes and other backward classes). Since Independence, the Central and the State Governments have been following a policy of protective discrimination and taking several measures for their uplift and welfare. We have accepted education as one of the key mechanisms for development not only of the tribals but also of the society as large. Several studies have examined literacy and levels of educational attainment of the tribals residing in a particular area (Block/taluka, district, region). Such studies show that tribals are at the lowest level of the educational pyramid. Occasionally, efforts have been made to compare literacy and educational attainment of the tribals with that of the scheduled castes, non-SC/ST or general population and other castes/ communities. Another group of studies have attempted to examine different individual, familial and contextual variables associated with education among the tribals. Still another group of studies have been concerned with an examination of the quantum of wastage and stagnation and the factors associated with them. One consistent finding of all such studies is that the educational attainment of tribal women is the lowest of all major sections of our society and that there is an uneven spread of education among them. There is, however, an imminent need to put findings of such studies together and examine the extent to which they help us to obtain an additive picture of the complexity of the factors associated with the educational development of tribal women. This study is an attempt in that direction. In this volume, Dr. Tara Patel examines about fifty, published as well as unpublished, socio-economic studies/surveys dealing directly or indirectly with certain aspects of the education among the tribals in Gujarat so as to obtain an additive picture of the educational development of tribal women and its associated variables. She has supplemented this exercise by incorporating a brief historical perspective of the educational development of the tribals, a broad narrative of their socio-economic conditions, and a detailed analysis of the census data regarding literacy and levels of educational attainment as well as of the year-wise enrolment data for the period 1964-80. Considering the criterion of equality as a point of departure, the strategy followed by her is to examine the extent to which the educational development of tribal women compares with that of Harijan women, non-SC/ST women and tribal men. She also examines traditional norms for female education in the tribal society, wastage and stagnation, and individual, familial and community contextual characteristics associated with a relatively low and uneven educational development of tribal women. This study will not only provide a handy source of reference material but also indicate the gaps in our research efforts in the area of educational development of tribal women. This volume will be useful to the students of sociology of education and women’s studies, educational planners and administrators of the programmes of special assistance to the tribals, and researchers.
Dr. Tara Patel obtained M.A. (Gujarati & Sanskrit) degree from the University of Bomby, m.A. (Sociology) degree from the Columbia University, and Ph.D. degree from the University of London. She worked as the Head of the Department of Sociology, Gujarat University, right from its inception in 1954 till her retirement in 1978. She has worked for a year as a Fellow of the Agricultural Development Council, Inc, at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and has also worked as a Visiting Professor of Rural Sociology at the University of the Philippines, Los Banso. She was a member of the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Commission appointed by the Government of Gujarat. She has published several research reports/papers in the fields of family, social problems, educational aspirations, and educational attainment of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. This study of Development of Education Among Tribal Women was taken up during 1981-83 when she worked as a Senior Fellow of the Indian Council of Social Science Research.
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