The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) will implement an educational package for tribal pre-primary children in their own language.
The initiative is aimed at ending the feeling of alienation among tribal children when they get initiated into the world of letters in Malayalam, which is an alien language to them.
Pilot project The project that will introduce the children to formal education will be implemented as a pilot project in Attappady block in Palakkad district. It will be expanded across the State later.
Titled Early Childhood Curriculum Care and Education (ECCCE), it will be implemented in anganwadis in tribal areas with the active participation of government agencies.
Anganwadi teachers will use languages of different tribal ethnic groups to impart pre-primary education. The curriculum has been prepared, and it includes details of the origin, history, cultural diversity, and social life among different tribal groups.
In Attappady, 37 anganwadis have been selected for the pilot project targeting children from the Irula community. The teachers in anganwadis will be trained with the help of tribal village elders. The project will begin in January next.
“Tribal children should get education in their own language. Unlike other children, they grow up in a world of their own, a world of the jungle, animals, birds, rivers. They speak a dialect of their own, are brought up in a dissimilar culture,” commission member Babu Narikuni told The Hindu .
Many dropouts “When these children begin their education, at the pre-primary stage in the anganwadis near their settlements, they find themselves lost. The language used for instruction and communication here is frighteningly strange. The process flows on to the primary level too. Majority of these children drop out of school as they find it difficult to fully comprehend classroom teaching and the activities, or read the language and understand textbooks,” added another member, C.U. Meena.
The concept has been developed on the thought that the use of tribal language in the initial years can go a long way in making them comfortable with the process of education.