Kerala

School lessons in mother tongue, a first for tribal children

A mentor-teacher of Government High School, Chenad, in Wayanad handling a class in their mother tongue for tribal children.

A mentor-teacher of Government High School, Chenad, in Wayanad handling a class in their mother tongue for tribal children.  

Bridge materials aim to tackle dropout rate among tribal children

November 7 was a memorable day for the 22 Scheduled Tribe students of Class III of Government High School at Chenad, near Sulthan Bathery, in Wayanad as they learnt lessons in their mother tongue in school for the first time.

The students, belonging to Paniya tribe, were taught in their mother tongue with the help of teachers of the same sect.

The programme was organised by the Samagra Shiksha Kerala (SSK) as a part of a State-level project.

“The SSK is carrying out projects ensuring 100% enrolment in schools and this project’s objective is to curb the dropout rate among tribal children,” A.P. Kuttikrishnan, SSK Director, said.

The SSK had trained 118 volunteers to execute the project and they would impart lessons in language of the tribes to the tribal students in various schools, Dr. Kuttikrishnan said.

Idea behind project

In lower classes in schools in tribal areas, the medium of instruction is Malayalam, instead of their mother tongue, which the SSK identified as one of the reasons for tribal children dropping out of schools, S.S. Sindhu, State programme officer, SSK, said.

Hence, the SSK decided to prepare a module and bridge materials for the age group of six, seven, and eight in 10 tribal languages with the help of experts, teachers, and those who speak these languages in Wayanad, Malappuram, and Idukki districts, Ms. Sindhu said.

She said 10 bridge materials were prepared for the tribal children, including five in Paniya, Kurichya, Oorali, Kattunayakka, and Adiya language for tribal children in Wayanad; three for Cholanayakka, Aranadan, Muthuvan language in Malappuram; and one for Idukki district in Mannan language.

The first tryout of the project was held at Chenad GHS on Thursday and the bridge materials were prepared to enrol third standard children.

The tryout was carried out by a team of experts led by T.P Kaladharan, an education expert.

Later, SSK officials visited the children and parents of a tribal hamlet at Poovanchi, near Sulthan Bathery, to get their feedback.

The programme was a success as the parents and children were happy with it, Ms. Sindhu said.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 7:25:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/school-lessons-in-mother-tongue-a-first-for-tribal-children/article29925820.ece

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