Fathers and Child Education in Tribal Odisha: Reflections of Commitment Amidst Constraints
The tribal children of Odisha live in remote villages and are often first-generation learners or speak mother tongues that have no written script. Often, these children lack access to basic quality education. To address this situation, both government and non-government organisations in Odisha are providing a variety of educational interventions. These often engage parents and the local community, which has resulted in a positive and gradual shift in attitudes among tribals, towards education of their children. The findings in this paper are drawn from a longitudinal study that involved 77 interviews and demographic surveys with fathers and 30 focus group discussions with community members. The data shed light on the reasons for selecting their child’s preschool centre and their views on child attendance, child’s abilities, centre workers and activities, language usage and MLE (multilingual education). Early childhood education programmes encouraged tribal fathers to participate in classroom activities and school governance, develop teaching and learning materials and build/fix the school infrastructure. In the absence of prior empirical evidence, findings from this study can inform father and family engagement programme and policies and support the need for two-generation programmes for disadvantaged populations.
KeywordsOdisha Tribal father Preschool Education Multilingual education Aspirations Tribal Odisha and education
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