Showing posts with label tribal education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tribal education. Show all posts

Saturday, October 29, 2016

[MLE] Book release: English and multilingual education

New book on multilingual education in India with a special focus on teaching English.

 

Dr Mahendra Mishra is a well known figure in the area of multilingual education in India. He  was State Coordinator for Multilingual Education (1996-2010) in Odisha and spearheaded the mother tongue-based multilingual education in the primary schools in ten tribal languages there. So, when he (co-)writes a book, we better take notice!


MLE proponents usually have a love-hate relationship with English as the English is often suppressing the building of a good foundation in the mother tongue. It is therefore quite courageous to write a book on "Multilingual Education in India: The Case for English". The description makes you want to read more: 
"Some perceive English language education as a hindrance to the growth of lndian languages and allege that it causes a social divide. The arguments of this book convincingly correct this uninformed notion and prove that English has been a tool of empowerment and a driver of social and economic mobility. The contributors demonstrate that local languages and cultures can be revived by integrating them into English language education."


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

New Education Policy: What does it say about language?

New Education Policy India

In 2015, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) initiated a consultation process for the formation of the New Education Policy (NEP). The full draft plan has not yet been released to the public but an input report has been published. The report includes several references to language including multilingual education.


Image Credit: Flickr/ Yorick_R (CC BY 2.0)


The background of the New Education Policy (NEP) and the reason for the slow process are given in the article published earlier this month India’s New Education Policy: Creeping 'Saffronization'? The aim of the new policy was "to respond to the 'changing dynamics of the population’s requirement with regards to quality education, innovation and research' and help the country move towards becoming a knowledge superpower.". The Diplomat reports that the process was slowed down because of saffronization acquisitions.

Monday, December 14, 2015

[MLE] Policy Brief - Reading Solutions for girls

Policy Brief - Reading Solutions for girls in a multilingual setting

 

The 2015 Echidna Global Scholars Policy Brief has this year been titled Reading solutions for girls; Combating social, pedagogical, and systemic issues for tribal girls' multilingual education in India.
 


The 28 page Policy Brief has been written by Suman Sachdeva, Technical Director Education, CARE India. Here are a few highlights taken from a summary on the brooking website:
  • The current approach to delivering effective multilingual education (MLE) for tribal students where tribal populations are more than 30 percent of the local population and where there are more than three dialects is inadequate overall and ignores gender-specific educational challenges.
  • Although evidence suggests there is a small gender gap in reading ability between tribal girls and boys, in general girls are more heavily impacted by inadequate language skills in the short and long term as they become more vulnerable to drop out and thus unable to complete a full course of education.
  • To address the shortcomings of the current MLE approach, policymakers must look into the social, pedagogical, and systemic barriers tribal girls face when impeded from acquiring reading skills
The paper ends with six "Solutions for Girls' reading", which gives some good recommandations. Obviously a must-read for those of us involved in tribal education and gender!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

[MLE] Textbooks in five tribal langauges in Jharkhand

Textbooks in Jharkhand

Earlier this week the governor of Jharkhand pleaded that Santhali children should be educated in their mother tongue. It looks like this is indeed going to happen and not only for Santhali, but also Mundari, Ho, Kudukh and Kharia children .


The Telegraph reports this week: Ethnic kids of Classes I & II to open new page next year. Binay Pattanayak and his team at the Unicef Jharkhand office has been working closely with the Jharkhand Council for Education, Research and Training (JCERT) to prepare textbooks for langauge and maths for class 1 and 2 in five tribal langauges. The plan is that they will be introduced from the next academic session onwards.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

[MLE] Outlook: In Bastar district kids do not understand their teacher





Outlook reports on language issues in Maoist areas
                        

Dhurwa children at a government school in Permaras

Outlook reporter explores the language factor in Maoist conflict

Debarshi Dasgupta describes himself as a "media fellow exploring linguistic aspects of the Maoist conflict". In that context he looks at schools and at what language goverenment officials use in Bastar district in Chhattisgarh.

 
In the artucle Black Chalk on Board, which will appear in this weeks' issue of Outlook, he explores the case of a eight year old boy, Sundar, from the Dhurwi tribe who after three years of schooling still does not understand a word of his teacher's Hindi:
"Sundar is a good example of how a poorly run education system and a blinkered resolve to teach only Hindi at the primary level, can spawn chronic illiteracy amongst the perfectly able. Chhatt­i­sgarh's tribal children have ended up being a mute lot, overwhelmed by a lan­g­uage they don't understand and intimidated by non-tribal teachers who take them to task if they use their own."
In the article he builds a strong case for the use of the tribal languages in the class and also discusses some of the citics.

In the aricle Language of the Land he critisizes the government for not making it mandatory for officers working in that region to learn a local language. He contrast that with the Maoist whose leaders do make it a point to use the tribal langiuage:
"It is through dedicated linguistic outreach that the Maoists have accentuated their proximity to adivasis and their faith in the tribal cause. Top commanders have acquired near-native skills in Gondi, spoken widely by marginalised tribals in south Chhattisgarh and adjoining areas. Even those Maoists from other tribal communities, including foot soldiers, have had to learn Gondi. "
He concludes:
"Perception matters a lot in this ongoing battle for minds, and being perceived as unfriendly to tribal languages and cultures is one that continues to cost the state dear in this conflict."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

MLE; Teaching in the tribal languages of Assam

 
 

National Geographic Reports on MLE in Assam

National Geographic published last month a brief article on the multilingual educations program the NGO PAJHRA  is doing among the tea planters in Assam.

 
The article titled "A Talk over Tea: Preserving India's Indigenous Languages" states:
"
Although Adivasis account for about 20 percent of the population, most local schools do not teach in Adivasi languages. Dropout rates are high, while literacy rates are low. To address these challenges, an organization called PAJHRA (Promotion & Advancement of Justice, Harmony, and Rights of Adivasis) is working with the community to promote and preserve their languages. "

About the teaching activities it states:
"
The project team developed, printed, and distributed 300 copies of an Adivasi alphabet book and 35 copies of an Adivasi storybook. Collaborative community meetings at Ananda Tea Estate helped the workers there lobby for the creation of Adivasi school houses."

Good to note that these type of activities are published and funded by National Geographic. Thanks to Luke Horo for the tip!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pre-primary education in tribal language in Kerala

Tribal children at an anganwadi in Attappady. Photo: K. K. Mustafah     

The Hindu reports that The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) is planning an educational package for tribal pre-primary children in their own language. 

 
The article titled Pre-primary education in tribal language states:
"Anganwadi teachers will use languages of different tribal ethnic groups to impart pre-primary education. The curriculum has been prepared, and it includes details of the origin, history, cultural diversity, and social life among different tribal groups "

The given rationale reads:
“When these children begin their education, at the pre-primary stage in the anganwadis near their settlements, they find themselves lost. The language used for instruction and communication here is frighteningly strange. The process flows on to the primary level too. Majority of these children drop out of school as they find it difficult to fully comprehend classroom teaching and the activities, or read the language and understand textbooks,”

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

[MLE] ECCE- Article: The Word and the World

Dear MultiLingual Education friends,

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.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

[MLE] Outlook article on PLSI points out the value of MLE

Dear Multilingual Education friends,

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

Dear multilingual Education friends,

"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.

[MLE] Education activists raise voice in Odisha

Dear Multilingual Education friends,

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

[MLE] Siksha Sahayaks to be engaged in MLE in Odisha

Dear multilingual Education friends,

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.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

UNICEF survey in Jharkhand reveals that 95% of school kids do not speak Hindi

Dear Multilingual Education friends,

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, December 19, 2012

[MLE] A positive newspaper article on MLE pilot projects in Assam

Dear multilingual education friends,

In Assam some good pilots are going on and the press has found them. Last week the attached article appeared in a newspaper in Assam. Interestingly the article highlights that from the boy they feature his English has become better. It seems that is an important point for advocacy because it is English that the society values most. A quote:
"Kisun, however, is an exception. He is the only one in the family who attends an Adivasiya school and can read and write English"

"'Earlier when I was studying in the LP school in the village, I could not understand English or follow any of my lessons. However, after coming to Adivasiya school, I can read and write English to some extent. I have also learned my own language better now.'"
The article then continues to explain more about the school, the pilot project and the brother MLE efforts in the country and worldwide. See Article.

Monday, August 20, 2012

RE: [MLE] Multilingual primers for more Anganwadi Centers in Orissa

Dear multilingual education friends,

There is more news on the new developments in Odisha / Orissa. Dharitri Patnaik of the Bernard van Leer Foundation wrote the below response to last week's message. To me the best news is that he reports that the demand is coming from the tribal communities themselves: The persistent campaign by tribals from the villages to the state capital has resulted in this directive. Demands for quality curriculum in tribal languages, recruitment of tribal men and women as teachers, centres in remote tribal hamlets and involvement of communities to monitor education are all part of the campaign.  This is confirmed by some of the newspaper links. It seems that the Odisha Adivashi Mancha (OAM) has been instrumental in this endeavour. DishaDiary reports:
The OAM is currently working on details of a strategy to make the new directive effective. "We will meet the Chief Secretary again to apprise him of our plans and concerns on the directive issued," says Mandal.  "Since the government has taken a right step on our long pending demand, we are ready to engage with it to give it a proper direction," he adds.
And The Hindu:
As per the suggestion of the OAM, tribal children should get educated in their tribal mother tongue at anganwadi kendras at pre-school level.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

[MLE] ASER education report 2011 for the first time includes language data


Dear Multilingual Education friends,
ASER does each year an independent assessment of the status of primary education in the country. ASER 2011 reached 558 districts, 16,017 villages, 327,372 households and 633,465 children. This year I somehow missed reporting on it in January. Here is a key finding you might find interesting:
Nationally, reading levels are estimated to have declined in many states across North India. The All India figure for the proportion of children in Std V able to read a Std 2 level text has dropped from 53.7% in 2010 to 48.2% in 2011. Such declines are not visible in the southern states.
However for this mailing list the most interesting thing is that this year for the first time the survey included a question on language:. The instructions read: “ Ask the child or any adult in the household which language is spoken at home, by the family members” (Full instructions copied below.) The summary of the result is:
A quarter of all rural children attend primary schools where the medium of instruction is different from their home language
I looked at the data per state. Some interesting figures:

STATE Home Language is Different From School Language (%)
Nagaland 100%
Chhattisgarh 99%
Manipur 98%
Arunachal Pradesh 96%
Jammu & Kashmir 95%
Himachal Pradesh 89%
Rajasthan 77%
Uttarkhand 67%
Jharkhand 61%
Bihar 53%
(The full table is given below)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

[MLE] NCERT Evaluation Report on MLE Project Orissa


Dear Multilingual Education Friends,
The evaluation report by NCERT's Department of Elementary Education on the Orissa MultiLingual Education projects under SSA/OPEPA is now available on-line at the TCF-SSA website. These are some highlights from the summary:
  • Overall, results suggested that children in MLE schools (treatment group) received significantly higher achievement scores than children in non-MLE schools (comparison group). However, scores for several Tribal languages showed that students of non-MLE schools did as well or even slightly better than students of MLE schools.
  • Other positive impacts noted by the stakeholders included: increased self-respect and self-confidence among children; increased interest in school; increased participation in learning; and increased use of the tribal languages. There were also perceived changes in enrolment, better retention rates, and lower drop-out rates in Multilingual Education programme schools due to the programme intervention; however, there were some variations according to tribal language.
  • The positive unintended outcomes of the program identified included improved relationships among teachers and among students and increased motivation and eagerness among students.
  • Unintended negative outcomes identified included increased drop-out rates for children from other castes, reduced participation of disabled children and a preference for the Oriya language over the mother-tongue.
  • A systematic method of monitoring of schools needs to be developed. The monitoring and supervision needs to be an ongoing process from State/District/Block and Cluster Resource Centres.