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Koraga woman lands Assistant Professor’s job: Marking a new high for the backward Koraga community

Youngsters Sabita Gundmi and Dinesha Kenjur  have cleared NET and aim to do Ph.D.

The winds of change are blowing through the most backward Koraga community, a Scheduled Tribe, with some youngsters taking to higher education.

Two such youngsters have cleared the National Eligibility Test (NET) for lectureship conducted by the University Grants Commission, marking a new high for the community.

The chief occupation of the community is basket weaving and collection of minor forest produce. Members of this community live in Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada, Shimoga and Kodagu districts in the State. According to information provided by the Federation of Koraga Development Associations and Samagra Grameena Ashrama (SGA), a non-governmental organisation, the population of the community is around 16,500 in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada of the State and in Kasaragod district of Kerala put together.

First from community

Sabita Gundmi (25), a resident of Gundmi village, near Brahmavar, in Udupi district, was the first person from the community to pass NET in 2010. Dinesha Kenjur (29), a resident of Kenjur village in the district, cleared NET this month.

Both of them grew up in trying circumstances and overcame many hurdles to make a mark. Ms. Gundmi’s parents were basket weavers. She lost her father when she was five while her mother died in an accident when she was studying SSLC. She was looked after by her uncle and aunt. After SSLC, she had to discontinue her studies for two years owing to financial problems. During this period, she worked at Samagra Grameena Ashrama at Pernal village in Udupi district. “But I always loved studying. I used the insurance amount that I got after my mother’s death to fund my education. The condition of the people in my community also prompted to me study further,” she said.

Ashok Shetty, coordinator of SGA, and Gokuldas, former president of the federation backed her in this endeavour. After completing B.A. at Besant Women’s College in Mangalore, Ms. Gundmi did her post-graduation in Sociology from Mangalore University in 2010 and stood second in the university. She appeared for NET when she was in the third semester of M.A. and cleared it in the first attempt.

She also cleared the State-level Eligibility Test (SLET) for lectureship conducted by the University of Mysore in the first attempt this year. She is now working as a guest lecturer in the P.G. Centre of the Government First Grade College at Tenkanidiyoor, near Udupi. “I am looking for a permanent job. I have applied for a Ph.D. in Mangalore University. I want to do research on ‘Women’s empowerment in Koraga community’,” she said.

“I am very happy on I achieving my goal. I never thought I could do it.” she exclaimed.

T C Shivashankara Murthy, Mangalore University vice-chancellor admired Sabitha’s achievement. There were lots of competition, reservation for scheduled tribes for the post, however her academic achievements choosed her the post.

The university has offered her a fellowship to do PhD. “Sabitha’s achievement is a great honour for the university too,” said Murthy.

Father’s insistence

Mr. Kenjur was also born in a poor family. His father was an agricultural labourer. The family got 2 acres of land after the Union government implemented the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976. Mr. Kenjur’s mother passed away when he was about three years old. He has two brothers and a sister. After completing his schooling in Kokkarne and Hebri villages, he did his Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) in Alva’s College in Moodbidri. He completed his Master of Social Work (MSW) in Mangalore University in 2009. “My father, Sukra, was insistent that we get educated. My neighbours also supported me. That’s how I got inspiration to take up higher studies,” he said.

After completing MSW, Mr. Kenjur worked in an NGO, Guard, for eight months. He then worked as a research assistant in the Department of Kannada in Mangalore University for two years, during which he prepared for NET and cracked it in the fourth attempt. “I am now hunting for a job as lecturer. I want to do a Ph.D.,” he said.

Team QuickNET wishes them good luck in all their future endeavors

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