RAIPUR: Buoyed with the success of its initiative by which tribal students from the Naxalite areas are clearing IIT, AIEEE and other entrance examinations, Chhattisgarh government has now decided to start residential schools under its ‘Prayas’ scheme in tribal Bastar and Sarguja regions.
Despite being constantly lured or threatened by the Naxalites, 100 odd tribal students from the troubled areas were selected in the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) through Prayas, a special coaching initiative of the state’s tribal welfare department. Two tribal students- Jaiprakash Singh from Balrampur district and Surya Prakash Netam from Farsegaon in Bastar- had cleared the IIT-JEE examinations and made it to the premier institution after being part of the Prayas initiative.
These students, chosen on the basis of merit, are offered special coaching and prepared for competitive exams, which are being run in the state capital at present. Chief minister Raman Singh had announced similar ‘Prayas’ centers in tribal Bastar and Sarguja regions and to provide internet connectivity at the students’ hostels in all the districts.
Prayas was launched in July 2010 under which meritorious students from the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) districts and other tribal areas were kept in tribal hostels in the state capital and imparted coaching along with the regular studies at the higher secondary level.
The programme was initiated following a visit of state’s then chief secretary P Joy Ommen, along with tribal department officials, to Bijapur district- considered as a Maoist hotbed in the tribal Bastar region. The officers came across a school boy, who had scored 95% marks in the 11th class examination, in a village in Bijapur. During a conversation, he told the officers that he wanted to either become a Patwari or a compounder.
“The aspirations even of meritorious students were so low. Subsequently, the government thought of launching a scheme like Prayas to give such students an opportunity to aim high in life,” said an officer associated with the project.