When we did get down to running some schools of our own we came up against this major constraint of lack of capable teachers. Whether it is the residential Rani Kajal Jeevan Shala in Kakrana or the single teacher schools in Vakner, Bada Amba and Chilakda, the basic education that the teachers had received when they were in school was so poor that despite being trained periodically they were not able to teach properly. Often I have gone and taught in these schools for a day or two to find that the children in a particular class were at a level of a few classes further down. There is no solution to this problem because it is next to impossible to get teachers in Adivasi areas capable of teaching the prescribed texts.
One of the programmes of the newly set up centre of the Mahila Jagat Lihaaz Samiti at Pandutalav village is to improve girls' education standards. What we have planned is that we will provide coaching classes to the girls studying in nearby schools at the secondary level from classes eight to twelve on weekends. For the past few weeks considerable publicity has been done in the nearby villages that Subhadra and I for starters, till others from Indore and elsewhere too decide to chip in, will provide coaching to girls in all subjects on saturdays and sundays and so they should come for this. The first class that was held under this programme had only four attendees as shown below!!
One is left wondering about the farce that is being enacted in the name of education in Adivasi areas. The prescribed texts are of a high standard and unless they are taught well from the lower classes, the backlog of knowledge that builds up is near impossible to address in the higher classes. Since there is a no detention policy upto class ten when the first public examination is held, students are promoted through to class ten without being taught much. They come to accept that teachers do not teach and they need not learn. In the end what we have is a huge lot of young people who have been turned into duffers by an inappropriate education system. They are all very intelligent children who do a lot of thoughtful work on their fields and in their homes but when it comes to learning at school its just a waste of time and effort. So while the children of the rich go to schools where teachers do teach and they go on to become important cogs of the capitalist system, poor adivasi children are deliberately turned into duffers as they are NOT TAUGHT, due to lack of teachers, the same prescribed texts as the rich children.
In recent years there have been many projects to groom a few underprivileged children who have somehow learnt something in poor schools and help them to enter elite institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology, with one of them being very famous by the name of Super Thirty. They do a laudable job by helping these few children put a foot into the edge of the closed door of opportunities in the capitalist world. But eventually these few children become part of the oppressive building and the door remains firmly shut for the vast majority.
Without some rudimentary education it is not possible for the Adivasis to forge a mass movement to break down the capitalist door and create a more just world. There is no need to become super intelligent in the paradigm of education designed by the rich in order to challenge their hegemony but at least the adivasi children must not become duffers. That is why instead of the super thirty we have launched a programme to ensure that we counter the invidious conspiracy of the capitalist state of converting adivasi children into duffers and have named it - Anti Duffer Unlimited.