[MLE] Textbooks in 5 tribal languages released


Last month textbooks in 5 tribal languages and 2 regional languages were released by the government of Jharkhand. They have been distributed to around 1,000 schools in 8 districts for initiating the Mother-Tongue-Based Multilingual Education programme in Jharkhand.

The languages covered by this initiative are the Santhali, Mundari, Ho, Kurukh and Kharia tribal languages and the Odia and Bangla regional languages. A six-minute video clip was made for the occasion. It pictures a tribal boy who is sad because he feels alienated from the school and other children as he does not speak Hindi. He is crying and does not want to go to school any more. Then his mother talks with the school leadership and things start changing as they allow the tribal language to be used in the school. The clip also contains several short interviews with teachers, and we get a glimpse into how the new textbooks are used. The clip is in Hindi.

It is also good to take note of the fact that the Jharkhand government is not only concerned with the language used for the curriculum but also with curriculum content. The Times of India reported recently that the government printed 4.5 million textbooks with focus on tribal culture. They include information on tribal festivals, famous war heroes, dances, sports, etc. The article states: "The new textbooks with colourful pictures of festivals like Sarhul, tribal hero Birsa Munda, sports personalities like MS Dhoni, Deepika Kumari, tribal revolutionaries, important heritage sites and temples like Maluti temples have developed enthusiasm and interest among students."
Congratulations to Binay Pattanayak for his support in developing these textbooks. This, of course, is only a start as now the teachers will need to be trained and the books need to be put into use. We are looking forward to hearing more on how the roll-out will go!