Saturday, April 25, 2009

[MLE] Newspaper articvle "Local dialect can bridge the gap'

Dear MLE friends,
Ever now and then the press picks up on the value of the use of the mother tongue. Express published an article based on observations in Orissa. A copy of the article you find below this entry. This is the link:

Karsten (Thanks to Dr Mahendra Mishra for passing on the article)

Karsten van Riezen
Education Consultant, SIL Int.
SIL, South Asia Group.

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‘Local dialect can bridge the gap’

First Published : 31 Mar 2009 03:58:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 31 Mar 2009 02:41:58 PM IST
DHENKANAL: The State Government has time and again being making tall claims to bring tribal children into the mainstream through proper implementation of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). The ground reality here, however, is far from different. Dreams of bridging the gap and reducing social and economic inequality in tribal-dominated Kankadahada and SC/ST-dominated Hindol blocks and certain pockets in Parjang and Gondia blocks, have yet not been realised for a bevy of reasons.
In Dhenkanal district, the academic needs of tribal children are not properly addressed. The increasing communication gap between teachers and tribal children is said to be one of the major reasons for students’ lack of interest in studies.
Official sources said 228 schools function in Kankadahada block in Kamakshyanagar sub-division. Of them, while 169 schools are operating under the Department of Schools and Mass Education of the Government, nine schools come under the Department of Welfare. The combined strength of all these schools is 26,456 students.
In addition to this, about 7,000 students stay and study in 38 residential schools, ashrams and seva ashrams in eight blocks under the Welfare Department, most of these students are from tribal communities.
Despite surveys about various aspects of facilitating SSA having been conducted, the concerns and needs of tribal children are yet to be addressed. Many tribals feel that as the children are more acquainted and comfortable with the Santhali dialect education in that medium would be desirable.
‘‘Santhali is our mother tongue and we feel that education through our local dialect would bridge the communication gap. We do not oppose the present system of education, but teaching our wards in the language and dialect they are comfortable with would be more helpful,’’ said Dusa Murmu, a local.
Sources said after Class V, very few children pursue higher education. Besides this, teachers in these schools do know tribal languages like Munda, Santhali, Matia, Mankedia, Juang and Gadabparda. At present, NCLP funded schools are also facing the same problem in Hindol and other tribal-concentrated villages.
Kamakshyanagar district Inspector of Schools, Mayadhar Pany admitted to the plight of the tribal children in SSA schools. Other residential schools, in some cases, had experienced the same difficulties, he said.
Hindol district Inspector of Schools, Saroj Kumar Dora informed that there is no bilingual teacher posted in any school in Hindol education district. He also admitted that communication gap is a major hindrance in motivating children towards education. Even capable teachers find it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand in tribal-dominated communities. Besides, in many schools, teaching and learning materials are not used to motivate students. Parents are not invited to schools to discuss the progress of their children in academics.
Educationist Ghanashyam Dash of Kamakshyanagar, who knows four tribal languages and used to impart training to teachers, said the government must include Dhenkanal district in multilingual category like KBK and five other districts in the state.
"It should also think of opening a tribal training centre here to educate teachers for successful implementation of primary education in tribal-dominated blocks," Dash said.
Susandhya Mohanty, a research scholar of training and education, suggested follow-up action and said concerns of tribals should be given top priority on a long-term basis.
Meanwhile, to tackle the communication gap, tribal leaders demanded posting of bilingual teachers or teachers adequately educated about tribal languages. Without these provisions, they said, the existing SSA structure would not help children in building their future.

Friday, April 24, 2009

[MLE] E-Publication: Mother tonque Matters

Dear MLE friends,
UNESCO put an other good and helpful MLE related publication on the Web: "Mother tongue matters: local language as a key to effective learning" is now available on-line. This book contains case studies from Papua New Guinea, Mali and Peru. It also contains a section on the Thomas and Collier longitudinal study. If you rather look for recommendations read the "Key Findings" chapter. I copy the conclusion chapter below.

The book is written by Dörthe Bühmann and Barbara Trudell.


Karsten van Riezen
Education Consultant, SIL Int.
SIL, South Asia Group.

Disclaimer: This mailing list is an informal way to share MLE related information. The sender neither claims credit or responsibility for the reports and events shared through this mailing list. Subscribing or unsubscribe by writing "[MLE] Subscribe" or "[MLE] Unsubscribe" in the subject-line and send a message to: Any contributions or suggestions are welcome.


The evidence is clear: mother-tongue-based bilingual education significantly
enhances the learning outcomes of students from minority language
communities. Moreover, when mother-tongue bilingual education
programmes are developed in a manner that involves community members
in some significant way and explicitly addresses community concerns, these
programmes also promote the identification of the minority community
with the formal education process.
h   e parameters that shape a bilingual education programme include the
availability of resources, its pedagogical and social goals, and the political
environment in which it is to be implemented. h   e examples described
above demonstrate a variety of such parameters, all of which have given
rise to innovative and effective bilingual education models.
It is also clear that successful models of bilingual education require
the collaboration of more than one or two actors. Development of the
language itself, of curricular materials, teacher training, advocacy with
the community and financial support all imply a range of participants
in the process. For this reason, any government planning to establish a
mother-tongue bilingual education programme would do well to aim for
the involvement of multiple partners in ensuring its success.
As complex an undertaking as such a programme can be, these four case
studies show that, with commitment and careful planning, it is possible for
any nation to provide higher quality learning outcomes for its minority-
language students through mother-tongue bilingual education.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

[MLE] "Enabling Education" issue on language

Dear MLE friends,
Enabling Education is a publication of Enabling Education Network. Their 12th issue has over 15 pages with articles on language education issues. It states in the introductions:

“In this special section, we will look at language and the impact it has on children’s
participation and achievement in education. The use of, and teaching of, language is
a complex issue. We can only provide a brief introduction through the articles in this
newsletter, but ideas for further reading are provided on page 24.”

Thursday, March 12, 2009

[MLE] MHRD meeting

Dear MLE friends,
Last month Dr. Arun Kumar Rath, Secretary, DSE & L, MHRD called for a meeting on MultiLingual Education. All key players were present. The most significant outcome was “the constitution of a National Resource Group (NRG) on MLE in the light of the NRG of SSA on quality. This NRG should meet at least once every three to six months to discuss various emerging issues and strategize for better implementation of MLE. The NRG should design non–negotiables for MLE interventions, monitor interventions and provide technical support to the concerned states.”

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

[MLE] Minorities forum on Education

Dear MLE friends,
At the Minority Forum of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, about 70 recommendations were given on Education. Severel of those have references to the language. E.g.

59. School language regimes for the initial stages of education in State schools should ideally
employ the language of the child as the predominant medium of instruction, with a gradual
introduction of the State language or dominant local language, if different from that of the child,
at a later stage, where possible by bilingual teachers sensitive to the cultural backgrounds of
minority children.

65. The promotion of the cultural rights of minorities is necessary to further the fulfilment of
their educational rights. These rights include access to written, audio and visual media materials
in their own language in order to enrich the cultural lives of minorities. There must also be the
free exchange of books and other educational materials and access to universities run by
members of their national group in other States.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

[MLE] Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger

Dear MLE friends,
A new recourse on endangered languages is available. Check it out:

UNESCO launches the electronic version of the new edition of its Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger on 19 February
The Atlas, presented on the eve of International Mother Language Day (21 February), enables searches according to several criteria, and ranks the 2,500 endangered languages that are listed according to five different levels of vitality: unsafe, definitely endangered, severely endangered, critically endangered and extinct., youth and the private sector. The work carried out by the more than 30 linguists who worked together on the Atlas shows that the phenomenon of disappearing languages appears in every region and in very variable economic conditions.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

[MLE] International Mother Language Day

Dear MLE friends,
Today is the International Mother Language Day! See the UNESCO announcement below.