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Digital Transformation of Tribal Schools

Published: 24th May, 2021

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is signed between the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MTA) and Microsoft to support the digital transformation of schools


A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is signed between the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MTA) and Microsoft to support the digital transformation of schools


Key highlights of the MOU

  • Target: The initiative will be implemented in schools under the Ministry such as Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) and Ashram Schools.
  • AI skills: Microsoft will provide AI curriculum to tribal students in both English and Hindi at all EMRS schools under the Ministry to skill educators and students for next-generation technologies including Artificial Intelligence.  
    • These schools will be equipped with the technology, training and tools that is required to transform them into Microsoft Showcase School.

Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS)

  • EMRS started in the year 1997-98.
  • It was started to impart quality education to ST children in remote areas.
  • It will enable them to avail of opportunities in high and professional educational courses and get employment in various sectors. ·       
  • By the year 2022, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons, will have an EMRS.        
  • Eklavya schools will be on par with Navodaya Vidyalaya.
  • They will have special facilities to preserve local art and culture besides providing training in sports and for skill development. 

Ashram Schools

  • Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) running a scheme “Establishment of Ashram Schools in Tribal Sub-Plan Areas” under which funds are provided to State Governments for construction of Ashram schools 
  • The scheme is in operation since 1990-91.
  • The scheme is funded on 50:50 basis by the Central and State government, 100% funding will be provided to UTs.
  • Scheduled Tribe (ST) students pursuing primary, middle, secondary and senior secondary education are eligible for the scheme.


  • Significance: This program will provide readiness, preparedness to students at various international forums.
    • Students would get the required skill through digital transformation and this would support that AI and coding being a part of the curriculum.
    • This initiative will be helpful to the tribal students for maintaining continuity in their education in the lockdown period.
    • Students will also be trained and exposed to gamified environments on Minecraft to help build design thinking skills.
    • To enable inclusion and access, Microsoft will make AI curriculum available to the schools and students in both English and Hindi.
  • Teachers training: 5000 teachers nominated by the ministry across these schools would also be provided with professional training.
    • The program will also offer opportunities for teachers to earn professional e-badges and e-certificates from the Microsoft Education Centre
  • Support: Ministry will mentor on projects that involve AI applications for the societal good and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also.

Some other initiatives of Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MTA)

  • NITI Aayog inaugurated the “Online Performance Dashboard “Empowering Tribals, Transforming India” developed by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) on 10th August, 2020. 
  • Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) scheme.
  • The joint initiative of the Ministry with Facebook under Going Online as Leaders (GOAL) program.
  • TRIFOOD Scheme is a joint initiative of Ministry of Food Processing Industry, Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED. 
  • TRIFED spearheads implementation of the Van Dhan programme.

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