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Education Plus Development

Barriers to education for tribal girls in India

Suman Sachdeva

Tribal girls in India are unable to acquire reading skills because they do not speak nor understand the language used in schools; thus, they are unable to get on a path to empowerment for their personal growth and for accessing their rights within their communities and in the larger world. If tribal girls do not attain reading skills, they are more vulnerable to dropping out of school and are unable to complete a full cycle of education.

My recent research paper focuses on the issue of multilingual education in India and how it can be used as a tool to build language skills amongst girls who come from communities that speak different dialects and languages. I found that primary-grade classrooms face a multilingual environment, flooded with children speaking various dialects who at times do not understand each other or even the teacher. Moreover, girls are reading, but not comprehending due to social, pedagogical, and systemic issues.

Several policy solutions include: addressing impeding social issues through critical dialogue with communities; ensuring a pedagogical focus on comprehension; acknowledging gender differences in pedagogy; prioritizing assessment and indicators for girls; strengthening the platforms for multilingual education for tribal girls (MLE); and accommodating tribal girls in MLE policy.

Read the full paper here.

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