Friday, August 31, 2012

[MLE] Book on "Heritage Language Playschools"

Dear multilingual education friends,

Using the mother tongue in the anganwadis or preschools is not only done in Orissa, but also in Malaysia. Dr Karla Smith wrote a book on it titled "Heritage Language Playschools for Indigenous Minorities".

The MTB-MLE website reports:
This book contains administrative and curriculum materials that can be used to establish and operate playschool programmes for indigenous communities. Carefully sequenced steps, covering pre-planning to evaluation, outline the process of setting up a local playschool with the aid of community involvement. The content covers pre-reading, pre-writing and readiness skills and provides an abundance of practical advice, forms and ideas based on sound educational theory.

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.

Monday, August 13, 2012

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

Dear multilingual education friends,

Good news from Orissa. Chief Secretary Sri Bijay Kumar Patnaik has directed OPEPA to develop bilingual primers in tribal dialects for children from Class-1 to Class-III and cover all the schools having 100% monolingual tribal students. He also  directed to OPEPA to customize the Anganwadi study guide (Arunimain) in tribal languages in the context of their culture. The stories, rhymes, dance performances, folk-lores of the tribe concerned will be reflected in this. 
In another development, nine new  tribal languages have been identified for inclusion in Multi  Lingual Education programme. These languages are Gutob, Ho, Gondi, Parja,Khaira, Didayita, Chhatisgarhi Odia, Binjhal (western Odisha) and Binjhal (for Bargarh region).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

[MLE] Report on Language in education in Nepal; with reference to MLE in India

Dear Multilingual Education friends,

The report "Language issues in Educational Policies and practices in Nepal: A critical review" draws an interesting conclusion. It builds a strong case that just doing MT for the first couple of years ("early exit") does not work. The 50 page report is published by Australian Aid.  A quote:
" ... children are not able to develop strong competence in their mother tongues until there are taught through L1 for the first 8 years as in Ethiopia. To promote quality education in Nepal, it is mandatory to promote teaching in children’s first language (be it Nepali or other local languages) for the first six years (at least) (ideally 8 years). The Ethiopian evidence shows that children learn English better when they have strong competence in their first language. "
Some other recommendations are:
  • Enough materials in local languages should be prepared before the implementation of the programme.
  • Community participation and involvement of other stakeholders should be ensured in all stages of the programme.
  • Eight-year long MTB-MLE provides a strong foundation for children’s learning and help them achieve better in all subjects including second and foreign language.
  • Decentralized decision-making process, with effective inspection and mentoring, helps for the effective implementation of the MTB-MLE. As Ethiopian case suggests there is no single uniform model of the programme in different states. It depends upon the need of the different regions.
  •  Teachers’ capacity in mother tongue teaching is one of the most important factors for making teaching and learning of MT effective

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

[MLE] Article: Multilingual Education in India: Myth and Reality

Dear Multilingual Education friends,


Samir Karmakar and Kinnari Pandya of the Azim Premji University, Bangalore published an article on Multilingual Education in India: Myth and Reality in which they plead to give more attention to the context:
Any approach towards MLE is bound to fail if the stated form of the policy lacks an understanding of what is being aspired by the population with reference to the Indian languages which is often being decided by various economical and historical factors. Therefore, understanding the linguistic culture in India becomes a must.
Very often the success and failure of a policy depends on the implicit, unofficial, unwritten, de facto aspect of what we call public opinion. Therefore, it becomes quintessential to understand the linguistic culture of the population to achieve the stated goals of the policy documents. This includes an in-depth investigation into the ideas, values, beliefs, attitudes, prejudices, myths, religious strictures, and all the cultural baggage that we bring to our dealings with language from our culture.
They argue that multilingual teaching should also be done in the higher grades:
This approach of gradual replacement of the non-dominant forms of linguistic communication by the dominant ones only widens the linguistic divide in India and will leave India as fertile ground for intolerance defeating the agenda of promoting cultural pluralism.


Since higher education is the avenue to institutional recognition and establishment, we should create opportunities of learning through the mother tongue unlike the various proposals of structural and gradual replacement of multilingualism by a monolingual world order.
A key quote is:
Success of MLE in India, then, primarily rests on mobilizing the public spheres rather than suggesting solutions only to the school teachers and government officials. More specifically, introducing MLE in India expects the involvement of parents in the dynamics of teaching-learning process.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

[MLE] Article in Guardian "Language exodus reshapes India's schools"

Dear MultiLingual Education friends,

The Guardian had last week an article on the role of English in the Indian education system. A few quotes:
"More and more across India, parents are forsaking educating their kids in their mother tongue in favour of English. Despite warnings from educationalists that a child's cognitive development is affected by early schooling in an unfamiliar language, there has been an exponential increase during the last decade in English-medium schools in the country.
The latest data compiled by the National University of Education, Planning and Administration (NUEPA) shows that the number of children studying in English-medium schools has increased by a staggering 274% between 2003 and 2011, to over 20 million students."


"When the standard of teaching in a regional language school is good, the difference becomes apparent. "In India, teaching of languages is generally very outdated, no matter which language," said Anita Rampal, professor of education at Delhi University. "But a study we did in Delhi showed that students who began learning in Hindi for the first five years in a school that taught language well showed the ability later to think independently and write creatively in both Hindi and English.""

"Cultural theorist Rita Kothari pointed out that English and regional languages contain different "storehouses of knowledge", both of which are essential for a student. English provides a wealth of modern ideas and historical understanding. "But without regional languages, the richness of the landscape will get flattened," she said."

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)