Unicef packages: tribal languages as the medium of instruction for children – Jharkhand

At a time when the state is red-faced about rural primary schoolchildren clueless in class, Unicef (Jharkhand) has embarked upon a pioneering project of preparing textbooks in tribal and regional languages for children for whom Hindi is as alien a medium of instruction as English. […]

Textbooks include a theme-based pictorial dictionary in tribal and regional languages and a school language-readiness package. Jharkhand’s HRD and welfare department is partnering this project, while experts in universities are sharing tips with Unicef.

“The idea is to make the child, already startled by a new school environment, feel comfortable and receptive to learning,” said Unicef head (Jharkhand) Job Zachariah.

While the pictorial dictionary will visually depict items that children see in everyday life — home, tree, plough, among others — and its corresponding name in the tribal or regional language, the language readiness package will gradually introduce Hindi words to the students. Interestingly, the pictorial dictionary is for class I and the introduction to Hindi is for class II.

“The pictorial dictionary and the school language readiness package will be ready by this April and June,” Unicef education specialist Binay Patnaik said.

So tribal children will first understand what is taught in their own speech, and then, learn a mainstream language.

Around six months ago, Unicef had conducted a survey across Jharkhand to access if tribal and rural children, who don’t speak in Hindi at home or in the village, actually understood what their teacher said in Hindi. […]

This corresponds to the ASER all-India findings and justifies HRD minister Baidyanath Ram’s stress on using tribal and regional languages as the medium of instruction for children.

Five tribal and four regional languages, given official tag by the Arjun Munda government last September, are spoken in the state. They are Santhali, Kurukh, Mundari, Ho, Kharia, Kurumali, Panchpargania, Nagpuri and Khortha.

A rural child in Bundu understands Panchpargania, but his counterpart in Mandar, Lohardaga, Gumla areas will know Kurukh. Thus, nine different copies of a book — say, a pictorial dictionary — are needed to fulfill the needs of students across regions.

Source: “Finally, tribal mother tongues go to school” by SANTOSH K. KIRO, The Telegraph, Calcutta 3 March 2012
Address : http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120303/jsp/jharkhand/story_15205733.jsp
Date Visited: Mon Mar 05 2012 19:57:28 GMT+0100 (CET)

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Related: Tribal Children’s Right to Education | Childhood | Ekalavya (Eklavya, Eklabya), EMR & Factory schools | Childrens rights: UNICEF India >>

See also

Chotanagpur | Chota Nagpur | Fact checking

Communities: Asur | Ho| Kharia | Munda | Oraon | Santal | State wise ST list (Scheduled Tribes)

Cultural heritage

Government of India


Hul (Santal rebellion 1855-1856) | Tribal freedom fighters

Jharkhand | Jharkhand land rights

Video | Banam: Lutes and fiddles of the Santal people – Jharkhand and West Bengal

Video | Hul Sengel: The Spirit of the Santal Revolution (1855) – Jharkhand

See also

Adivasi Academy & Museum of Adivasi Voice at Tejgadh | Lecture “A View of Higher Education in India”

Appropriate education for Adivasi children – the Vidyodaya School model at Gudalur

eBook | Background guide

Childhood | Children’s books | Childrens rights: UNICEF India | Safe search

eJournal | Writing and teaching Santali in different alphabets: A success story calling for a stronger sense of self-confidence

People’s Linguistic Survey of India | Volumes (PLSI) | PeoplesLinguisticSurvey.org

Games and leisure time

Multi-lingual education | Residential school | Ekalavya

Multilingual education is a pillar of intergenerational learning – Unesco

Santali education | Teaching Santal children by Boro Baski

Storytelling | Success story

Tagore and rural culture

Unesco | Unicef | Unicef India | United Nations

United Nations International Days and Weeks

Video | “Nations don’t make us human – languages make us human”: Ganesh Devy

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