Creating a school environment that helps the children to love their local languages and cultures seems rather idealistic. The BBC recently published a video clip of a school in Africa that does just that: celebrating the children’s culture in the school . As also in Africa, teaching is based on a post-colonial curriculum, that is rather unique. This is worth taking note of! To begin with, the Freedom School in Kenya promotes love and acceptance of their own culture by encouraging children to speak their mother tongue. The BBC documentary Afrocentrism: The school teaching kids to love their African culture shows a school culture and curriculum that is Africa centred through which the children are growing to love who they are. The children are provided with mentorship and with plenty of encouragement to embrace their own heritage. This has also resulted in an increasing use of mother tongue names.
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When I read the news that “Tribal children in Jharkhand get lessons in their own language”, I checked back with my friend Binay Pattanayak (Senior Education Consultant at the World Bank). I was pleased to note that he confirmed that there are indeed things moving there! There has been a push for tribal schools in Jharkhand to use the local languages since 2015. The development of textbooks in 5 tribal languages (Santhali, Mundari, Ho, Kuruh and Kharia) and 2 regional languages (Bangla and Odia) that were published back in 2016 was a step in that direction. In accordance with the NEP, Jharkhand education department now says that children are to be instructed in their mother tongue till the 3rd standard.