The State government has approved introduction of nine more tribal languages under its multilingual education (MLE) programme from this academic session.

The languages those would be taught in tribal schools include Ho, Desia, Gutab, Didayi, Bhunjia, Paudi Bhuyan, Binjhal, Gondi and Kharia.

These nine languages were shortlisted among the 14 tribal dialects, linguistic surveywhich was conducted by Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste Development Department and Odisha Primary Education Programme Authority.

At present, 10 tribal languages such as Santhali, Munda, Koya, Kui, Kuvi, Kishan, Oram, Saura, Bonda and Juang are medium of instructions at the primary level in the first phase.

200 schools selected

Altogether 200 schools from 14 districts have been selected for initiation of MLE programme.

Odisha is home to largest diverse groups of tribal communities in India having 62 ethnic groups.

The State government has adopted the MLE programme since 2006 with an aim to address the issue of systemic marginalisation of tribal children from the educational process and to build the scientifically proven foundation in mother tongue,

In a phased manner during 2007 to 2010, 544 schools with 100 per cent tribal children (monolingual) have been adopted with MLE approach in eight districts.

Santhali is the leading tribal language which is medium in as many as 100 schools in Mayurbhanj district.

Other major tribal languages are Kuvi (65 schools in Rayagada district) and Saura (60 schools in Gajapati district).

A State Resource Group comprising of 60 persons (linguistics, educationists, tribal experts, tribal teachers and tribal language resource persons) had been formed for the development of orthography, literature, transition plan, instruction manual and curriculum in select tribal languages. Selection of schools is based on child census.