RCE Srinagar - 2018

Making Education Relevant for the Tribal Children Living in Transhumance, the Gujjars and Bakarwals of Jammu & Kashmir, India

Location

State of Jammu & Kashmir
Upland and lowland pasturelands Nomadic communities practicing transhumance, keep moving, don't stay at one place
India
IN
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Making Education Relevant for the Tribal Children Living in Transhumance, the Gujjars and Bakarwals of Jammu & Kashmir, India
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Srinagar
Contributing organization(s) : 
Centre for Environment Education and
Jammu & Kashmir Directorate of School Education (DSE)
Jammu & Kashmir Board of School Education (BOSE)
National Council of Education, Research & Training (NCERT)
Jammu & Kashmir Department of Tribal Affairs
Local NGOs
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Name: 
Dr. Abdhesh Kumar Gangwar
Organizational Affiliation: 
Programme Director, CEE Himalaya
Format of project: 
Manuscript
Language of project: 
English
Date of submission:
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Additional resources: 
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) adopted September 2007 in particular its articles 14 and 31; Article 14 "Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning"
Article 3 "Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts".
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Education for All)
At what level is the policy operating?: 
National
Geographical & Education Information
Region: 
Asia-Pacific
Country: 
India
Address of focal point institution for project: 
Mr. Mubashir Sultan Zargar
RCE Srinagar
House No. 037, Stadium Colony-A, Near Ahmad's Filling Station, At & Post Office- Baramulla, Jammu & Kashmir, India
PIN Code: 193101
Phones: +91-9415104125, +91-9419069589, +91-706037700
Ecosystem(s):
Level of Education for intended audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
The ‘Gujjars’ and ‘Bakarwals’ are the scheduled tribes of Jammu & Kashmir practicing transhumance. For their seasonal movement to high altitude pasturelands, education for their children poses a big challenge. Government has made a provision of seasonal mobile schools when they are up on the pasturelands, April-September. However, the mobile schools do not serve the purpose. Besides the infrastructure, not having especially trained teachers and the school teaching being irrelevant to the life styles and livelihood of children is a serious concern. What administrations call 'education', 'teaching', 'school', 'curriculum' and 'knowledge' scarcely apply to these nomads. Present education is not sensitive to their culture, language, livelihoods, traditional knowledge, skills, environment and biodiversity. Finding education not interesting and seeing no tangible gains accruing the students withdraw from schools.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
The current education system focuses on the mainstreaming of the Gujjars and Bakarwals - which means encouraging them to follow the practices of a sedentary life defined by typical indicators of social and community development - their cycle will be disturbed and altered to an extent that harms their knowledge system, which is unique and invaluable. A state’s education administration and its agencies of development services typically consider the Gujjar, Bakarwal and other nomadic tribes as being illiterate or backward. However, that they do not know a script ought not to hold back recognition of their naturist literacy, that is, the literacy of herding, of seasons, of spatial qualities, of grasslands, of animal health, and of the manner in which this literacy is transmitted. As pedagogy, this is far superior to an imposed curriculum, utterly disconnected from nature that schoolchildren are burdened with in the typical classroom. Considering the low literacy among tribal’s and high drop-out rates at elementary and higher levels, it is apparent that the education provided to tribal children is no more beneficial to them.
Contents
Status: 
Ongoing
Period: 
January, 2017 to January, 2020
Rationale: 
For the Gujjar and Bakarwal tribal communities, an education of the children and youth has several interconnected objectives to fulfil. What administrations call 'education', 'teaching', 'school', 'curriculum' and 'knowledge' scarcely apply to the nomads. The current education system focuses on the mainstreaming of the Gujjars and Bakarwals, which means encouraging them to follow the practices of a sedentary life defined by typical indicators of social and community development. While well-intentioned, and although a process of education helps orient youth away from militancy, education as it remains today in form and letter disturbs the transhumant annual cycle of the tribals and alters their own worth of the knowledge system they possess, one which is unique and invaluable. There is need of special focus on tribal's education, inclusive of context specific traditional and innovative interventions. Our attempt is to widen what is meant as 'education' by the administration, and to bring within this meaning the essential aspects of the Gujjar and Bakarwal practices that lend them uniqueness. The cultural aspect becomes central in this.
Objectives: 
A initially two year programme, to be extended further, that covers the seasonal migration will focus on observing and assessing the needs of the transhumance community activities and the points at which learning interventions can occur. Community elders and leaders, representatives of bearers of traditional knowledge and intangible cultural heritage will be interviewed for their views on education and teaching methods, likewise administrators and teachers from the state Zonal Education Offices, from the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Education for All) and from the corps of education volunteers (who have some experience with the mobile schools) will be interviewed.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
1. Base Line Data Collection
2. Assessing and reviewing current status of education being provided to transhumance society
3. Analyzing the attitudes and opinions of transhumance society on current education system as well as their expectations from the education being provided to them
4. Firming Up Proposed Project Objectives, Methodologies and Sharing of Progress and Experience
5. Documentation of Good Practices and Indigenous Knowledge
6. Development of appropriate curriculum and syllabus for Gujjar and Bakarwal communities
7. Developing recommendation on education system for transhumance society in general
Size of academic audience: 
608 mobile schools; more than 1500-2500 children and over 100 teachers; more than 6000-10,000 people of Gujjar and Bakarwal community in J&K
Results: 
1. Quality of education improved in mobile schools in J&K.
2. School and education conditions improved for more than 1500-2500 children of Gujjar and Bakarwal communities in J&K.
3. More than 6000-10,000 people from Gujjar and Bakarwal communities addressed under the project for their welfare, better quality of life and quality of environment.
4. A set of recommendations to improve the education system for tribal communities.
5. Formulation of appropriate syllabus and curriculum for mobile schools operating in J&K which will be useful to other such communities as well
6. Teachers' Training Module on joyful methods of teaching and learning developed for teachers working with tribal children.
7. Coffee table book developed on good practices and traditional knowledge of indigenous communities.
Lessons learned: 
Strong monitoring & evaluation systems will be put up in place to ensure effective and successful implementation of the project. At suitable intervals and at the end the project should be got evaluated by a competent external agency/ies. Comments of the midterm review should be incorporated suitably. Project implementation process should be documented and circulated to concerned people. Right from the beginning of the project implementation the concerned Government Departments should be made partners so that after the project they use the project outcomes and sustain them.
Key messages: 
Gujjars and Bakarwals, scheduled tribes, are transhumant communities of Jammu & Kashmir, India. They rear livestock, practice seasonal migration, pastoralism, between high and lowland pasture lands. They are poor, marginalized, more than 70% illiterate. Education for their children is a big challenge. Government has set up mobile schools but they are inadequate. The syllabus curriculum offered has no relevance to these children so they lose interest and quit schools. The teachers are not trained in making education locale specific. Not letter literate but they have precious rich knowledge around pastoral lifestyle and livelihood. The project is to appreciate rich unique intangible cultural heritage, understand the basic of sustainability, low footprint lifestyle from these communities and reorient education, the teacher training, syllabus to the needs of these communities.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
CEE is one of the partners in the International project 'Reorienting Education and Training Systems to Improve the Lives of Indigenous and Marginalized Youth' of the York University, Toronto, Canada being coordinated by Prof. Charles Hopkins, UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainability and will use the experiences gained from this project in implementing the proposed project. CEE is not receiving any financial support for their project either from Charles Hopkins, York University or any other sources. RCE Jammu is another partner in this project.
Funding: 
Besides RCE Srinagar’s own funds, Give2Asia and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development have given some funds. We have been trying to raise more funds.

Pictures:

File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon Bakarwal children engaged in grazing and transhumance. Attracting them to schools and making education relevant for them is a challenge..jpg (114.45 KB) Bakarwal children engaged in grazing and transhumance. Attracting them to schools and making education relevant for them is a challenge. RCE Srinagar
Image icon A Bakarwal with his animals. Their movement causes traffic problems on highways..JPG (2.11 MB) A Bakarwal with his animals. Their movement causes traffic problems on highways. Abdhesh Kumar Gangwar
Image icon The Gujjars.JPG (2.08 MB) The Gujjars Abdhesh Kumar Gangwar
Image icon A Bakarwal child engaged in grazing and transhumance. Attracting them to schools and making education relevant for them is a challenge..jpg (101.08 KB) A Bakarwal child engaged in grazing and transhumance. Attracting them to schools and making education relevant for them is a challenge. Abdhesh Kumar Gangwar
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
Indirect
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
Direct
SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 
Indirect
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
Indirect
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Direct
Theme
Traditional Knowledge  
Direct
Arts 
Indirect
Curriculum Development 
Direct
Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development – Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Direct
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Direct
Priority Action Area 3 - Building capacities of educators and trainers 
Direct
Priority Action Area 4 - Empowering and mobilizing youth 
Direct
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level 
Direct