The first tribal university of the country, which aims at promoting higher education among the Scheduled Tribes, has started functioning from this session in Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh but sans teachers and a campus of its own.
Indira Gandhi National Tribal University (IGNTU), the first of its kind dedicated for education and research on tribals, has given admission to 150 students this year. It will offer courses in humanities and commerce.
"We have given admission to about 150 students, including 100 belonging to tribal communities. We are offering Bachelor Degree programmes in anthropology, tourism, political science, geography, history and commerce," IGNTU Vice-Chancellor C D Singh told PTI.
The university, which is yet to have its own Academic Council, has adopted the syllabus of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) for the courses.
HRD Minister Arjun Singh had laid the foundation of the university at Amarkantak on April 19 this year. However, the land is yet to be acquired for its campus.
"We have hired a building of an Ashram in Amarkantak where we will conduct classes. Hope we will get the land soon from the state government," the Vice-Chancellor said.
A major portion of the land earmarked for the campus comes under forest area. It has not been transferred to the university till date.
The university has started the process of recruiting its registrar and teaching faculty.
The courses on anthropology and tourism will touch upon the tribals’ tradition and culture, he said.
"We will start research on tribal art, culture, tradition, language, custom, medicinal system, forest-based economic activities including special studies in flora and fauna and advancement in technologies relating to natural resources of tribal areas. All these will start after we get the campus and adequate staff," the Vice-Chancellor said.
The university, set up under a Central law enacted last year, will have jurisdiction all over the country and will be funded by the University Grants Commission.
The education of the tribal people has been a matter of concern in view of low gross enrolment ratio (GER), the percentage of people of the relevant age group in the realm of higher education. While the national GER is 11.6 percent, the GER of the tribals is a meagre 6.6 percent.
The university, which will be broadly on the pattern of existing Central universities, will cater particularly to the tribal people in Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat, he said.
Besides headquarters at Amarkantak, the university will have regional centres and campuses in other tribal concentrated areas, the Vice-Chancellor said.
Authorities of the university like executive council, academic council, college development council, boards of studies, academic boards, management boards and finance committees will have adequate number of members from among the Scheduled Tribes, he said.
Amarkantak has been selected as the site for the university because it is a central point in the tribal areas stretching between Madhya Pradesh, Chhattishgarh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra.