In a welcome development, six tribal students, including two from Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) have cleared the JEE Advanced entrance for IITs. This a record of sorts as it’s the first time anyone from PVTG tribes, recognised as endangered, have made it to Indian Institute of Technology. Pudari Srinivas and Pujari Adharsh, belong to Manne and Kolam tribes, both catgorised as PVTG respectively. Four other tribal students, including a girl, of the Gond and Lambada communities have also cleared the entrance exam. The other 4 who have qualified the exam are- Perka Chitru (Gond), Keram Nagamani (Pardhani), and Badhavath Rejender and Jhadav Niranjan (Lambada).
Dubbing the exam results as a great achievement for students of the marginalised communities, IPS officer and secretary, Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society Dr Praveen Kumar told Indian Express: “Boys and girls from tribes facing extinction have qualified for IITs. In these tribal families, even two meals a day is a luxury. But given an opportunity to study, they excelled.” Notedly, the population of the Kolam and Manne tribes, found only in Telangana, is less than 3,000 each.
Speaking with Indian Express, the Mancherial district collector and project officer at Integrated Tribal Development Authority R V Karnan said, “Some of the brightest kids among these tribals were chosen and given special coaching for nearly six months. The IIT coaching project is called Star-30 under which 30 students are selected from various Tribal Welfare Residential Colleges and given rigorous coaching.” In the JEE Main exam earlier, 162 from social welfare schools and 113 from tribal welfare schools qualified from Telangana. Of these, 21 students cleared JEE Advanced. Besides these 21 students who will join IITs, at least 50 other SC and ST students will join the National Institutes of Technology.