ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Neglect and Abuse in the Name of Education

Maharashtra has had ashram shalas or tribal boarding schools for many decades now. However, much is wanting in the way these schools are run and the conditions in which the tribal children are made to live and study. The periodic cases of abuse and corruption gain media attention for a few days but no long-term improvement or concrete action plans are forthcoming.

The cases of rape and sexual abuse of minor girls that came to light in November at the Nimbaji Kokre ashram shala (boarding school for tribes) at Khamgaon in Buldhana district of Maharashtra, have once again raised questions about the administration of ashram shalas. However, these questions will remain unanswered. Ashram shalas were started to provide education to tribal children in remote parts of Maharashtra but have increasingly become hubs of abuse.

Cases of the kind in Buldhana are periodically reported by the media and even made much of for a few days. Invariably, the abusers are members of the staff including the warden and superintendent, the very people who are supposed to protect the children. These are cases which have become public because they were reported by the parents or relatives of these tribal children but activists working in the area say there are many more that go unreported.

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