Three DIETs as regional resource centres for tribal education
Tribal literacy achieved so far not encouraging
Teachers expected to develop close relation with tribal students
BHUBANESWAR: With tribal population in Orissa yet to come closer to the State’s total literacy rate and tribal students facing problem in accustoming themselves to school language being the major hindrance, Orissa government proposed to include additional 16 tribal languages in multi-lingual education (MLE).
At the three-day national seminar on ‘Multilingual Education’ that began here on Saturday, Director of Orissa Primary Education Programme Authority (OPEPA) Deoranjan Kumar Singh said keeping the growing demands from communities for MLE in mind another 16 tribal languages would be encouraged in primary education.
Moreover, a decision had been taken to declare District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) at Jeypore, Baripada and Sambalpur as regional resource centres for tribal education.
After introduction of 16 tribal languages in elementary education, the total number of tribal languages selected for MLE based on educational need, social demand and gap of home and school language would reach 26.
“The new tribal languages which have been selected for introduction in primary education against 10 tribal languages include Ho, Kohla, Gadaba, Jodia-Paraja and Gondi. Additional 3,000 schools could be covered if additional languages are adopted,” Mahendra Mishra, State Coordinator for Tribal Education in OPEPA, said.
Moreover, with the new programme MLE would be in force in 17 districts including Sambalpur, Mayurbhanj, Nawrangpur, Keonjhar and Kandhamal, Mr. Mishra said.
Though tribal population constitutes 22.13 per cent of the total State population and Orissa is home to 62 scheduled tribes, 13 of them are primitive, the tribal literacy achieved so far has been dismal. Against the State’s total literacy of 63 per cent, 37.37 per cent of tribal people are literate. Tribal literacy rate is nearly 20 per cent less than overall literacy rate.
Moreover, tribal children’s dropout rate is 20 per cent higher than overall children’s drop out rate. MLE was an answer to address disadvantage group having language problem, Mr. Mishra said.
Augustine Lugun, a resource person working in Sundargarh area, said tribal students treat Oriya like any other foreign language. “We have successfully experimented MLE among tribal students. A tribal kid is able to adapt to school language only after six years of gradual dose of Oriya language along with his mother tongue,” Mr. Lugun said.
Besides, in yet another innovative step, the teachers, who would be posted in tribal dominated regions, would have to undergo training in dominant tribal language as part of programme called Rupantar.
“Through the programme, we expect teachers will develop close relation with tribal students, who have so far been afraid of approaching them. The trained teachers will also be able to discuss developmental projects in the tribal community,” the state coordinator for tribal education said.