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Odisha yet to bring ECE Law for Tribal Children

 

Posted Wednesday July 06, 2016

Odisha, Tribal Children, Early Education, Mother Language Day  
 

Odisha has third largest concentration of tribal population in India. Of the 8 million tribal people living in the state, 1.4 million are children between 0-6 years of age.  Among this population, literacy rates are 37% compared to 63% in Odisha and 65% in India. Primary school drop-out rate is also higher than the state average.

 
HNF Correspondent  
 

On the International Mother Language Day, Odisha Adivasi Manch placed its demand for a law to make early childhood educational materials available to the tribal children of Odisha in their own. “The scope of education for the 1.4million young tribal children in the state is at stake as any law regarding mother tongue based early childhood education is yet to come,” said Mrs Bidulata Huika, Convenor Odisha Adivasi Manch (OAM), at a press conference in Bhubaneswar.

Urging that the state government officials must implement the decision taken by Chief Secretary on July 31, 2012, after the brain storming Meeting on 24 July 24, 2012, to introduce Mother Tongue based Multi Lingual Education for young tribal children, Sudhir Kumar Digal, Programme Manager of the campaign said, “After much media hype and government’s assurance to implement the decisions taken after the meeting within the next three months, we are yet to see any changes.”

 

To the Advisor of Odisha Adivasi Manch, Badal Kumar Tah, while Mother tongue-based bilingual programs during the early childhood use the child’s first language, allowing the learner with adequate scope of understanding in their own language ensures better convergence and participation in the classroom setting. Later on, it becomes a platform for learners to gradually transfer skills from the familiar language to the unfamiliar one.

The Odisha Adivashi Manch (OAM), a forum of tribal groups urges upon the Government of Odisha to provide rightful learning and childhood to tribal children of Odisha. It’s shoking that in spite of a directive from the Chief Secretary of Odisha passed since July 2012, it’s yet to be implemented by the officials proactively. The directive needs to become a policy decision with a clear road map for implementation. A gazette notification in this regard should be immediately made and the decision be conveyed to all officials of the state starting from line departments at state level to the Gram Panchayat offices.

While there is the need of developing curriculum in at least 19 tribal languages, the government has notified to take 10 tribal languages into consideration. This needs to be modified and all these 19 languages should be included for now and there must also be provision to include the remaining languages in future.

It is worth mentioning here that Odisha has third largest concentration of tribal population in India. Of the 8 million tribal people living in the state, 1.4 million are children between 0-6 years of age.  Among this population, literacy rates are 37% compared to 63% in the state and 65% in the country. Primary school drop-out rate is also higher than the state average.

The UNESCO too celebrated February 21, 2013 as the International Mother Language Day in its headquarters at Paris to reinforce the importance of Mother Language and specifically highlight this year’s theme of access to books and digital media in local languages.

 
 

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