|The Hindu reported Nov 19, 2021 on Project ‘Samhati’|
Odisha has been for years the most active Indian state with regards to Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education (MTB – MLE). In the context of the new National Education Policy it has recently initiated Project ‘Samhati’ to ensure that tribal children are indeed taught in their own languages.
In the press we see hopeful headings appearing like: Odisha launches project ‘Samhati’ to teach tribals in their own languages. The Odisha state government recognises 21 tribal languages. The ‘Samhati’ project is focusing on the 1,700+ residential educational establishments as well as several thousand primary schools with predominantly tribal children. Thousands of instructors and language teachers are being trained under this scheme.
The Odisha School Education Programme Authority (OSEPA) claims that more than 302 textbooks and 2,500 supplemental reading resources, including story books and picture charts, have already been prepared. But much more material is needed. Also, standardisation will be an issue as there are often different dialects for each language.
The project implementation will be done by the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI) along with the Academy of Tribal Language and Culture (ATLC), Bhubaneswar.
It is well recognised that the implementation will be a major challenge. We are looking forward to hearing more in the future!