Monday, December 2, 2013
Thursday, October 24, 2013
The United Nations is encouraging college and university students to write an essay in one of its six official languages on the role of multilingualism in a globalized world. To qualify, the student’s native language has to be different from the one in which he or she writes, and different from the principal one at the school. The contest is called "Many languages, one world’.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Against the backdrop of the new Early Childhood Care and Education policies Prof Shivali Tukdeo recently wrote an article in the Indian Express titled The Word and the World . A few quotes:
The inclusion of home or local languages in preschool is a step in the right direction, for educational as well as social reasons.
Evidence-based studies on early childhood and research in educational psychology and cognition suggest that exposure to multiple languages can facilitate early development.
Given the interactive nature of early learning, home languages and local vernaculars would be excellent resources to introduce the child to the rhymes, rhythms and stories of a world that she inhabits. With the inclusion of mother tongues and local vernaculars in preschools, many neighbourhoods and localities, with their different stories, will enter the realm of school.
If the responses to the recent textbooks in Santhali, Gondi and Kok Barok are any indication, Adivasi children want to see their languages in school. The development of local languages as languages of knowledge production and dissemination will be crucial in democratising our education.
The language debate would be more productive if it were not framed within the binaries of either-or. The proposal to introduce mother tongues or home languages is not against English, and should not be taken to be so.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Just after the MLE conference in Thailand at which several people from India will participate, there will also be an MLE conference in India organised by the National Multilingual Education Resource Consortium (NMRC). The conference is titled "Whither MLE? Rethinking MultiLingual Education in the 21st century".
A quote from the Conference website:
This conference, "Whither MLE?" will therefore attempt to revisit our assumptions of a modern Global Indian state and Indian education in 21st century against the constitutional debates, the NCF2005 and the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan where MLE is implemented as an innovation program for tribal children. Can we imagine a post colonial, post modern Indian state without recognizing and building on the multilinguality of Indian and World communities? Shouldn't subaltern discourse inform the entire school education practice of India? Shouldn't all schools including the ECCE centers have a multilingual pedagogy that builds on the home languages of the children? Analysis of these issues will provide a fresh paradigm for examining the reasons for marginality of the hitherto run MLE programs in Indian schools and the inadequacy and in-egalitarian nature of the universal school education system in India. This conference will create a layered discussion on each of these issues, reflect critically on the MLE programmes and practices in Indian school and develop an agenda for implementing MLE in all schools in future.The following themes will be covered:
- Taking Stock: Current MLE Research and Programs in India
- MLE Policy and Advocacy
- MLE Strategies and Innovations
- Pedagogic Practices, Teacher Training and Capacity Building for MLE
- Networking and Partnership in MLE research and Programs
- Future of MLE in India
- RTE Act 2009 and Multilingual Education
- Planning for SAARC level conference on MLE in November 2014
Monday, September 23, 2013
Congratulations, the union cabinet the other day approved the National ECCE policy. The official press statement you can read here: National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy. The policy is strong on the use of the mother tongue of the children. In the press this is mentioned, but does not get major attention. The article "Govt fixes size, language, nap time for playschools" in the Times of India e.g simply states: "The norms also specify that the primary medium of instruction will be mother tongue or local language". Maybe later, one of the quality news magazines will zoom in to the issue. For now we can celebrate with this milestone!
Monday, September 16, 2013
Several of us have had input in the drafting of the Early Childhood Care and Education policy (ECCE) on request by the Women and Child Development Ministry. It clearly states at several places that the use of the mother tongue of the children is the preferred medium. E.g.:
This weekend the policy hit the press with the language issue in focus. Yesterday on the front page of the Delhi version of the Indian Express was an article titled: "Govt wants Playschools to mind Language, go Vernacular" and today a similar article was published: Speaking in Tongues.The mother tongue or home language of the child will be the primary language of interaction in the ECCE programmes. However, given the young child‟s ability at this age to learn many languages, exposure to the national/regional language and English in oral form as required, will also be explored.
Unfortunately, as newspapers tend to do, the articles look for controversy rather than consensus. The articles contrasts the use of the vernacular with English instead of emphasising that the policy, at least from my perspective, tries to keep them in parallel. Let us see if other media will be picking this up also and report on it in a more balanced fashion. (Note: Last week The Times of India had an article on Centre plans to regulate playschools, creches, which did not mention the language issue at all!)
Thursday, September 5, 2013
This week there are lots of articles in the media about the language situation in India because of the release of the People’s Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI) results. The Outlook Article: Speaking of us links the issue of language loss and language celebration to the need for multilingual education. It starts with touching story about a tribal girl getting a second chance in a multilingual school in Gujarat after she failed in the regular system:
“Why did you not learn anything at school?” Chaudhary Rekha, the teacher, asks. ... “Because our teacher, whenever he came, always taught in Gujarati,” she says softly in Dungra Bhili. A year at the Tejgadh-based Adivasi Academy’s Vasant Bahubhashi Shala has changed that. She can now read and write with much greater fluency. And all thanks to classes in a language she can finally understand.Some other quotes:
Those who have worked for the PLSI agree that offering multilingual education, something few states practise with either dedication or efficiency, is undoubtedly one of the best ways to protect our lesser-known languages in the long run. One of the many formal suggestions the PLSI intends to make to the government includes a pitch to facilitate optional education in a child’s mother tongue at the primary level. “We have somehow remained stuck with the notion that schools can teach only in one language, whereas we need multilingual schools that use many languages as the medium of instruction,” says Devy.
This multilingual model is something the Adivasi Academy in Baroda district has adopted in over 60 special training centres. Here, students are taught Gujarati in their mother tongue (mostly Dungra Bhili and Rathawi) before they head out to their schools later in the day so that they do not fall behind in their classes.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
[MLE] We are just a few steps away from making mother tongue based early childhood education a reality for 1.4 million tribal children in Odisha
"We are just a few steps away from making mother tongue based early childhood education a reality for 1.4 million tribal children in Odisha" is quite a bold statement coming from State Convener of Odisha Adivasi Manch Ido Manda in presence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. It was said at the occasion of the launching of a Mother Tongue based Multilingual Early Childhood Education Learning Laboratory, a collaborative effort of KISS and Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF). A few quotes from The Indian Express article title Multilingual Education Launched.:
The CM also reiterated his Government’s commitment to make quality early childhood education in mother tongue a reality for 1.4 million tribal children of the State.
The Early Childhood Development Programme through Mother Tongue based Multilingual Learning Education (MLE) is the first programme of its type in India and is instituted by KISS on its premises jointly with The Netherland-based Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF).
Steps such as regular training of the anganwadi worker and recruitment of teachers from the tribal community would benefit the process, she [Achyuta Samanta] said and hoped that Odisha would become the first State in the country to have a policy on mother tongue-based multi-lingual early childhood education for its indigenous children.
It is once again that Odisha is in the news with regards to the need to use the mother tongue of the children in the school. This time the initiative to raise a voice was taken by Save the Children (Good to see you name among the speakers, Sanjeev!) and Sikshasandhan. In the context of RTE a state level consultation on Language, Tribal Education and Right to Education was held in Bhubaneswar last month. A few quotes from the Odishadiary website:
A serious attempt should be initiated to explore the existing gaps to address the problems faced by the linguistic minority children, concerted advocacy efforts should be made by civil society groups, education activists and the government for the necessity of having a state level multilingual education policy (Dr Sanjeev Rai)
Government has taken some initiatives in this regard meanwhile, but it needs to be expedited and institutionalized across the state as soon as possible. This would minimize the high dropout rate among the tribal children and language should not be a barrier for the tribal children to join the school to fulfil the basic essence of the Right to Education Act (Prof D.P. Patnaik)
all the major commission including the Kothari commission has specifically advocated for mother tongue as the medium of instruction for a minimum of five to eight years in the primary stage, as the level of competency in mother tongue decide the prospect of efficiency in other languages including English. - See more at: http://www.orissadiary.com/CurrentNews.asp?id=43445#sthash.nkJXxfET.dpuf
... all the major commission including the Kothari commission has specifically advocated for mother tongue as the medium of instruction for a minimum of five to eight years in the primary stage, as the level of competency in mother tongue decide the prospect of efficiency in other languages including English. (Prof Ajit Mohanty)
... the mushrooming of English-medium education is going to kill all creativity and innovation as they lack a solid foundation of understanding, which is possible through mother- tongue only (Dr Mohit Mohanty)
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Odisha has for several year be one of the front runners for multilingual education. It wants to expand the program and has decided to recruit teacher assistants ("Siksha Sahayaks") for the program. This move is part of a wider initiative to push the responsibility of the education down to the community. More details can be read in the article titled "Siksha sahayaks to be engaged in MLE". A few quotes:
Although the [MLE] programme had been implemented by transferring teachers with expertise in the tribal language to the MLE schools, absence of adequate number of teachers prompted the Government to engage siksha sahayaks for effective implementation of the programme.
In fact, the Government has already approved a policy on MLE which calls for continuation of the programme and its coverage to all tribal children.
In a latest resolution that seeks to address the issues, the School and Mass Education Department has directed that all functions of elementary education will be transferred in phases to zilla parishad and other panchayati raj institutions. Since MLE is part of the elementary education, it too would follow suit.Interestingly on the OPEPA Siksha Sahayaks recruitments page Urdu, Bengali and Telegu are mentioned as specific required languages, but nothing is said about speaking tribal languages.
Monday, August 12, 2013
Yesterday I read in the Indian Express India speaks...780 ways about the completion of the People's Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI). They found 780 languages spoken in India. A quote:
After what can easily be called the largest-ever survey of languages in the world, spread over four years, involving around 85 institutions, roping in as many linguists, sociologists, anthropologists and cultural activists, and tapping over 3,000 volunteers, the centre has compiled its findings. In the year 2013, shows the 'People's Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI)', there are 780 languages spoken across the length and breadth of the country. In contrast, the 2001 Census listed just 122 languages
Saturday, July 6, 2013
UNESCO Bangkok just published the 10th Issue of Multilingual Education E-Newsletter. It has MLE related news-items from all over Asia , a list of resources related to education and a overview of relevant events. The most interesting event is probably the 4th International Conference on Language and Education: Multilingual Education for All in Asia and the Pacific - Policies, Practices and Processes, Thailand; 6-8 November 2013. There is also a link to the MLE Mapping Data as maintained by the Asia Multilingual Education Working Group with a request to contribute to it.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
The British Council is pleased to share the link of the videos from the 3rd International English Language Teacher Educator Conference (TEC) held in Hyderabad from 16 - 18 March 2013. The videos have been uploaded on YouTube and you can view them at this link.
There are some interesting presentations such as
- “Evaluation Study of MLE of Odisha” by Lata Pandey from NCERT,
- “Grounding ELT in an MLE Framework” by Ajit Mohanty from JNU
- “Importance of Mother Tongue Education for Quality Education” by Pamela Mackenzie from INfD
Monday, June 17, 2013
Earlier this month we read about the results of the Sociolinguistic Research that UNICEF facilitated in Jharkhand. Alongside this also dictionaries were developed in the following languages: Santhali, Mundari, Ho, PanchPargania, Nagpuri, Khortha, Kharia, Kurukh and Kurmali. The dictionaries were developed via Mother Tongue Based Active Language Learning (M-TALL) along with Tribal Welfare Research Institute. The Times of India Reports on it here. A quote:
Speaking on the occasion Mridula Sinha, principal secretary, Department of Social Welfare, Women & Child Development said: "I strongly believe that children's language skills need to be strengthened and it is our priority and for achieving this goal these dictionaries are launched which will be available at all anganwadi centres and schools to impart education to children. In this respect, we have named anganwadi centers Anganwadi Nursery School Kendra to promote basic learning and to control the drop out rates in the schools."
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
The Bihar government claims to be the first state to start a language bridge course. Beginning mid-July, teachers in government primary schools in Bihar will teach class one students Hindi equivalents for words in Bajjika, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Angika and Magahi. To support the implementation dictionaries in these languages are produced also. A quote from the article in The Indian Express:
HRD Principal Secretary Amarjeet Sinha said, "As government schools have mostly students from villages, it's important to provide them a comfort level. They hardly speak Hindi. Teachers, with the aid of the dictionary, will help children pick up Hindi words. The dialect to Hindi dictionary will be primarily for teachers but can be referred to students as well. The idea is to minimise number of out-of-school children.
Saturday, June 1, 2013
At least five newspapers reported on the findings of a recent UNICEF sociolinguistic survey in Jharkhand. The study revealed quite interesting findings with regards to the gap between home language and school language. A few quotes:
The research was carried out in 72 blocks across the 24 districts of the state, covering 216 villages. During the survey, researchers interacted with schoolchildren, their parents, teachers and village leaders. Over 3,000 kids were profiled during the survey.
It was found that mother tongue of over 96 per cent of rural population, including school kids, was tribal or regional languages. While 33 per cent of the children interviewed spoke Santhali at home, 17.5 per cent spoke Khortha, 9.5 per cent Kurukh, 8.2 per cent Nagpuri, 7.6 per cent used Mundari, 6.7 per cent Sadri and 5.6 per cent used Ho. Only four per cent rural families spoke Hindi at home.
92 per cent of the teachers use Hindi to interact with students in schools. Over 90 per cent of the teachers indicated that they can speak tribal or regional language of that area. But since instruction in mother tongue is not mandatory they chose to instruct in Hindi.
Over 78% of the teachers felt that children faced problems in learning because of the language gap of home and school.
The study recommends that the medium of instruction in anganwadi pre-school centres and primary classes in schools should be in the mother-tongue of children, which is tribal or regional language. The study suggests that material in tribal and regional language should be developed and used in classrooms to bridge gap between the home language and school language. Besides, teachers should be oriented to understand and respect local resources and culture, as well as to communicate with children in local language.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Dear MultiLingual Education friends,
It is always joy to hear positive stories from neighbours. The story below is from the neighbouring country, Vietnam. It is interesting to see how nearly 500 students from three minority language groups who are enrolled in bilingual education program,are doing remarkably well. They could catch up with the main stream, Kinh children, in various aspects such as admission to higher level school, drop-out rates, etc.
Friday, April 19, 2013
Below is the invitation and abstract submission call for 4th International Conference on Language and Education which is held from 6 to 8 Nov, 2013, in Bangkok, Thailand. This conference is hosted by 14 national and international organization this year such as UNESCO, UNICEF, Room to Read, SIL International, etc.
Notice that submission deadline of participant’s abstract is by the end of this month and registration deadline is by the end of Aug. (See message from UNESCO below, which includes a list of speakers)
Please visit the conference website for detailed information. It will be good to have a good representation from India there!
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Madia children in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh now have the opportunity to learn different subjects in their mother tongue. This used to be impossible in the past due to the double burden of learning various subjects in unfamiliar languages such as Marathi in Maharashtra or Hindi in Chhattisgarh and learning either language in each state. So the following statement makes sense to them now.
“Language (Madia) becomes a major issue in early years of education as it is not just a medium of communication but a link to the entire culture and values of a race.”For the entire article for Madia medium MLE school in early stage in Lok Biradari Ashram School, click the below link. Nurturing one's own language
Monday, April 15, 2013
Please don’t forget to give credit to the photographer and GPE (Global Partnership for Education) and enjoy watching the photos.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
- How can the idea of an integrated language curriculum be defined?
- What are the key principles of language learning and development which should underpin a language curriculum for children aged 3 to 12 years?
- Where is the evidence for it in policy and practice? What are the expected outcomes by 8 years of age for children’s learning and development in the different language learning contexts described in the background to this research?
- What kinds of structures are implied in an integrated curriculum for children’s language learning from 3 to 12 years, and how would these structures accommodate the different language learning contexts described in the background to the research?
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Mother Language Day!
Remembering the International Mother Language Day is a good excuse to also celebrate the two years existence of the MLE and India Web Blog. You have been of great support to make that site work well.
Here are some of the statistics:
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
- socio-linguistic survey (findings being released within a couple of weeks),
- children’s bilingual picture dictionaries on 60 child-friendly themes printed in 9 tribal and regional languages,
- Bhasha Puliya (school language readiness package for pre-school centres)- to be piloted in 10% Anganwadis,
- School readiness package developed for primary level
Monday, February 4, 2013
Unesco Bangkok send out the below announcement. It looks like an exciting conference again. There is lots that can be shared from India so we hope many can attend.
Prof. Anvita Abbi from JNU has been awarded the "Padma Shri" by the Government of India for her distinguished contribution on tribal and endangered languages in India. For the last ten years or so she has been working on documentation of Andaman Island languages whose last speakers passed away recently. For more details, click the following link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Dying-languages-saved-for-posterity/articleshow/18214075.cms