Kerala’s Kattunayakan tribe gets its first BTech graduate

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By Express News Service

KALPETTA: Sruthi Raj, the elder of the Raju-Sunitha couple’s two children, has broken a barrier. She has become the first person from the Kattunayakan tribe to earn a BTech degree. A resident of the Nethaji tribal colony at Chelur in Kattikulam, she has achieved the feat on the back of sheer determination and hard work. But the journey has not been an easy one for Sruthi. 

“I scored 86% in the SSLC exams. Fortunately, I got a sponsor for my higher studies. But the college days were a period of struggle,” Sruthi says. She enrolled for the BTech course in electronics and communication at the Government Engineering College in Wayanad during 2014-18. “I had to clear a paper ‘microprocessor and controller’. I failed on my first two attempts. But I wanted to complete BTech,” she says.

So she went for special coaching, and on her third attempt, she cleared the subject this year. “I completed BTech with 60% marks. While many students in my community discontinue their studies, I kept on trying to finish the course,” says Sruthi, who aims to get a job in the public sector. She had studied till Class 10 at the Government HSS in Kattikulam, and did her Plus Two at the Government Vocational HSS in Mananthavady. Now she is preparing for the Public Service Commission examinations. “I’m getting special training for the exams,” Sruthi says.

K C Cheriyan, district project officer of the Integrated Tribal Development Programme, Wayanad, said: “The Kattunayakan tribe is mainly spread across the forest areas of Wayanad, Nilambur and Palakkad. So far, we haven’t received any information on any student completing the BTech course. Sruthi is the first person from her community to achieve the feat. Sruthi’s parents are daily wage labourers.



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