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Parents' attitude towards daughters' education in tribal area: a study in Keonjhar District of Odisha.


There is a general perception in India that women in tribal societies face fewer restrictions than other women. However, the comments above highlight certain restrictions placed on women in the tribal community in Keonjhar, their feelings of subordination, and maintenance of the status quo. My field research with a rural tribal community in Keonjhar District, in the north districts of Orissa, India, highlights the constant daily struggles of tribal communities and the severe limitations placed on women in formal public life along with their parent's negative attitude. Government of India and the state government have initiated a number of important measures to provide education to women in odisha's keonjhar districts. For example, the National Commission for Women was set up by an Act of Parliament in 1990 to safeguard the rights and legal entitlements of women, through Sarva Sikshya Aviyan, up gradation of Primary Schools under SSA, New Residential Girl's High Schools/Educational Complexes, and Teaching in Tribal Language, Bicycles of ST Girls, and Scholarships to tribal women and Micro Projects etc. India has also signed a number of international conventions that aim to ensure the rights of women as well as for right to education. After all these facilities still now the women education of Keonjhar district is very low that 40.30 percent, therefore is a need to perceptions and attitudes of the parents of both enrolled and out of school girls regarding their daughters'.

These reviews are the regions which raised the question to further study on this matter: A seminar on the tribal education in India (1967) organized by National Council of Educational Research and Training analysed the various aspects of tribal education like the educational facilities available, coverage, wastage and stagnation, basic problems of tribal education methods and voluntary agencies in the education of tribal people and utilization of financial assistance. The Seminar made recommendations regarding aims, objectives and policy of tribal education, teacher's qualification, and medium of instruction, school facilities, text books and curriculum etc. Mathur. N.N.G (1994) studied the problem of tribal education. The study encompasses secondary education of the tribal pupils in Udaipur district and come out with useful practical, suggestions which can pave way for future course of action to be taken in this direction. Patel, T., (1984) undertaken a study development of education among tribal women, with the objectives such as: to examine the extent to which literacy, enrolment and educational attainment of tribal women compared with that of Harijan women; the problems of schools; and to develop an additive picture of various aspects of the educational development of tribal women in Gujarat on the basis of analysis of census and other data availed in related studies then revealed that There were considerable inter-tribe and intradistrict differences in socio-economic conditions of tribal in Gujarat, they were dependant on agricultural labour and cultivation, tribal parent's indifferent and apathetic attitude towards education together with their poor economic condition seemed to be the major causes for irregular attendance, absenteeism and dropping out of the girl children from the school. Ijeoma Obidgbo (2000) indicates religion as a major constraint to girls and women's education. The weight of socio-cultural and religious belief and attitudes remain very strong and play an important role in preventing girls from going to school and women from parties and literacy classes. Some religions do not allow girls to be seen in public places or mix up with their opposite sex, so it becomes a problem for sending girls to school.

Less enrolment of girls in the districts predominated with tribal population necessitates conductive studies in order to assess different factors which are affecting overall situation of girls' education in these areas. Parents' attitude is central point in these circumstances which can play the role of change agent.

Parents' attitudes and behaviours reflect the cultural and social picture of this tribal segment of society. Major purpose of this study is to deeply explore the mind-set of tribal parents toward their daughters' education so that if there are any barriers and weak points, it can be overcome with remedial measures. The study contributes to draw a clear and comprehensive scenario of girls' education in tribal areas of the district Keonjhar in Odisha one of the districts having sizable number of tribal population.

Research Questions

The study addressed to answer the following questions.

1. How do tribal parents define the significance of girls' education in keonjhar district?

2. What type of role they wish to contribute for their daughters' education?

3. What type of role they are now contributing for their daughters' education?

4. What could be possible measures to enhance tribal parents' role for their daughters' education?

Method of the study

Data are collected through descriptive survey method with the help of questionnaires, interview schedule and focus group discussions.


Tribal Area of District Keonjhar comprises eight blocks named Banspal, Champua, Harichandanpur, Joda, Jhumpura, Telkoi, Sadar, and Ghatgaon. In this study, total 50 schools were selected from which equal numbers of parents (six from each school) and educational/literacy workers (one from each school) were included in the sample. The sample comprised fifty educational/literacy workers and three hundred parents.

Tools: The following tools are used in collection of data for this study.

1. A question on different dimensions of education of girl's children and role of parents in their education.

2. Interview schedule for obtaining direct information from parents and girls children.

Analysis and Interpretation

Table-1 depicts education of girls' vis-a-vis parents' parent is perception.

From examination of the above table it is observed that 70 percent of the tribal parents realize that due to lack of proper education, they are counted as backward session of the society and about 30 percent of them are still not aware about the role of education on development of their life as well as society. About 44 percent to 54 percent of the respondents thinking that it is education that can help women in giving proper care to their children and also can develop the economic condition of the family and other 46 percent of the respondents are against it. About 50 percent of the respondents have clarity that education act as an instrument in improving their current economic standard in the society. At the same time 50 percent of parents are not serious about the use and implications of education in their day to day living and preparing future of their children. From the above table it shows these is a lack of understanding on the strength of education in today's world among tribal parents towards education of their daughter. This is certainly not a positive indication on the part of development of the tribal society and increased socio-economic conditions of the people in Keonjhar district of Odisha. Similar is the situation with respond to perception of respondent's use of education in their current employment. Though 30 percent parents are agreed to it some extent, 50 percent did not respond to this proposition. This shows that education is a lifelong process is yet not understood by the tribal respondent of Keonjhar district.

By examining the above table, it is observed that 10 percent of the respondents are aware that life will be charms less without education and about 90 percent of the respondents are still need some clarity about the importance of education in the development of their life. On critical analysis it is found that 74 percent of the parents have the idea that educated person can do something for the welfare of the country and about 26 percent of the respondents are still in doubt about the utility of education in the life. In the other side, 56 percent of the respondents realize, money that is spent by them for the education of their children is a meaningful investment for future and 44 percent of the respondents are still in doubt about the usefulness of their investment for education of their words. 80 percent of the respondents are not aware about the importance and utility of infrastructure for good education. About 46 percent of the respondents have the understanding that they should take part in decisions making activities in schools. It is noticed that there is lack of awareness with more than 50 percent of the parents about the utility of education for their life and living.

On the basis of the above table it is revealed that 30 percent of the parents realise the importance of education in their life and they are fully aware about their children's education and they also providing full support to their daughter where as 70 percent are still need to clear about the role of education on development of their future and overall development of their life. About 30 percent respondents give opinion that they are properly playing their role as a teacher in the home and solve many problems pertaining to their education. Whereas 70 percent of the respondents still are not aware about the necessity of their role for the proper education. 42 percent of the respondents say that present location and infrastructure is one of the serious obstacles which affect the education of their children and this is the cause to change their daughter's school. 58 percent of the respondents are still not realising the obstacle of location and infrastructure for taking proper education. About 30 percent of the respondents are of the opinion that there is the need of good curriculum as well as qualitative teacher for real education and they also said that they are not satisfied with their curriculum. This shows that the present curriculum somehow fulfilling their needs. The education provided to tribal women is not so qualitative due to lack of skilled teacher and to transact curriculum so the teacher and some changes in curriculum is needed. It is revealed that 40 percent of the parents are curious for education of their daughter's and 60 percent of the parents are still required to develop their understanding about education of their children.

On the basis of examination of the above table it is observed that only 4 percent of the respondents are of the opinion that they are not getting proper benefit from government provisions regarding education. Whereas 96 percent of the respondents are of the opinion that government provisions of education is equally available to all. This indicates that government is taking initiatives to provide facilities of education to all. 62 percent of the respondents have the up-to-date knowledge regarding facilities available for women education. Whereas, 38 percent of the respondents have no clarity that education for women are completely free. As a result, they are not able to take the educational benefits of the government meant for them. About 28 percent of the respondents have the knowledge about different educational opportunities which are going on in the country. It is clearly reflects that there is need for some clarity to 72 percent of the tribal women about the different opportunities available in India.78 percent of the respondents have the idea about different scholarships those are meant for tribal women to take better education and about 22 percent of the tribal women are not aware about the scholarship provision for them. They may be interested for education but due to lack of knowledge of different facilities available for them they are not motivated towards education to their children. About 80 percent of the parents are of the view that the literacy programmes are not effective in tribal areas. This need to be supplemented with many more meaningful, need based activities for ensuring their meaningful participation in the education.


There were no major differences among the opinions of tribal parents regarding the significance of their daughters' education. They think that it will just help them to write their name and signature nothing else. But at the same time the, parents having good financial backgrounds like business, farming, and other higher class jobs are in favour of giving education to their girl children. However, a majority of them are not completely aware about schemes on education available for tribal population. The viewpoints expressed by majority of tribal men lead to a positive trend toward girls' education in the areas.

Two major of opinion emerged from the study are: (a) the parents who want to educate their daughters at any cost, have migrated to nearest cities and urban areas heaving better education facilities. The families who did not have resources to migrate are settled in the tribal areas but have desire to educate their children. A tribal person of age 40 who showed his commitment for his daughters' education opined that if the government provides transportation as well as proper infrastructure he is ready to send his daughter even to village school. Lack of money have dissuaded parents to provide education to girl children. Besides absence of school buildings, unavailability of teachers and transport facilities are also some other factors hindering education of tribal girls. They were of the view that the private educational institutions are providing good quality education, but it is beyond affordability of common tribal population.

According the opinion of tribal parents less numbers of girls' schools, distance of schools from homes, insufficient numbers of female teachers, absence of school buildings, electricity, toilets, boundary walls, etc are the problems which demand immediate attention in tribal areas.

It is observed that, generally, tribal parents had soft corner for their daughters' education. They are aware of the significance of daughters' education. But the scarcity of resources has compelled them not to send their daughters for education. If there are some weak voices against girls' general education, these were based on ignorance of parents as well as their low financial condition. The important thing in all scenarios is that people in tribal area of Keonjhar District want to educate their daughters.

The main problems for majority of them are the absence of schools and school related human and physical infrastructure. The problems of transportation, drinking water, electricity, school buildings and boundary walls are severe in tribal cum rural areas than settled areas. Special efforts are recommended to upgrade girls' schools infrastructure on priority basis. Quality infrastructure ensures quality education and quality education ensures masses participation in education programs.
Table 1: Education of Girl's Vs Parents Perception

Items Responses in percentage
 Agree Disagree Undecided

The backwardness is 70 12 18
due to lack of
education of women

The existing 54 6 40
economic condition
of your life can
develop through your
daughter's education

Uneducated families 04 50 46
have maintained
their life

Educated women can 46 06 48
properly take care
of her child
nutrition or other

The current 20 50 30
employment status of
your daughter's can
be change through

Table 2: Efforts of Tribal Parents for Education of their

Items Responses in percentage
 Agree Disagree Undecided

Life will be 10 64 26
charmless without
proper education.

The welfare of our 74 06 20
country is depends
upon the proper
education of women.

your daughter's 56 08 36
education is a
creative investment
for the future of
your family.

Your daughter's 20 50 30
education may be
safe with a well
equipped school.

PTA/MTA 46 08 46
participation of
yours is necessary
for development of
quality of education
and facilities.

Table 3: Role of Tribal Parents in Education of their Daughters

Items Responses in percentage
 Agree Disagree Undecided

All types of support 30 10 60
to your daughter are
provided for better

You are playing the 30 20 50
proper role of a
teacher for your
daughter at home.

School should be 42 14 44
changed to avoid
distance and lack of

Better education 30 8 62
depends on the
qualitative teacher
and curriculum.

Your present effort 40 10 50
is sufficient to
enhance proper
education of your

Table 4: Education of Girl's Children Vs Measures for Improvement

Items Responses in percentage
 Agree Disagree Undecided

Government 4 46 50
provisions of
education are
equally not
available to all.

The education for 62 4 34
women is completely
free in India.

There are different 28 4 68
opportunities which
are going on in
India /Orissa/

In India many 20 2 78
scholarships are
available to
take better
for your daughter.

Your attendance on 20 0 80
different literacy
programmes arranged
in your
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Article Details
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Author:Puhan, Rasmi Ranjan; Malla, Lakshmipriya
Publication:Political Economy Journal of India
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jul 1, 2012
Previous Article:Defining tribes in the Indian context.
Next Article:Financial inclusion of ST wage seekers in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

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