Now students of primary classes in Jharkhand to study in mother tongues


Ranchi: In what could be seen as good news for mother tongue lovers across the country, the students of Classes I and II in government schools in Jharkhand will be taught in their local languages from next academic session.

The step has been taken in order to reduce the dropout rate at the primary level, The Times of India reported.

According to reports, Jharkhand’s school education and literacy development department is likely to come up with schoolbooks in five widely spoken tribal languages – Santhali, Ho, Kudukh, Mundari and Khadiya – for students of the primary classes from the academic session 2016-17, helping in the slow transition of students from their mother tongue to Hindi and English.

“We had conducted a survey in which it was found that the most common reason for students to drop out from school at the primary level was the inability to understand the syllabus, which would be in Hindi and English. Keeping this in mind, we came up with the idea of publishing the course book in their mother tongue to help them understand better,” Department secretary Aradhana Patnaik said.

“In the first phase, the books will be distributed in 200 schools across the state whose 100% population speaks one of the five languages.”

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Welcoming the move by the state government, Dr Joga Singh, Professor and Former Head of Department of Linguistics in Punjabi University, Patiala told NewsGram that it was essential to impart education in mother tongues as it would bring in good results for the country.

“This will certainly achieve the desired result i.e. to check out the dropout rate. It is attested by all international research on education that children do not learn well when they are taught in a language which they don’t understand,” he said.

“It needs to be highlighted that many states in India are imparting education in Hindi in government schools where Hindi is not the mother tongue of the children of these states, e.g. Jharkhand, Uttrakhand, Bihar, Chhatisgarh and some others. Due to the opacity of the medium of education in the government schools, these states are lagging educationally behind other states where the official language is the mother tongue of the children, e.g. Punjab, Tamilnadu, etcetera. This needs to be set right immediately,” Singh said.

The Professor added that teaching in an opaque language is a violence on children which causes a severe sense of alienation and several other psychological impairments. 

“It not only results in a rupture between child and the school but also between school and the social milieu, in general, which, consequently, negatively affects the achievement of societal goals of education.”

He, however, cautioned that primary education in mother tongues would not suffice.

“Until and unless other domains of public life i.e. higher educational institutes, offices do not adopt mother tongues, we would not be able to see the desired change. This does not mean we should stop striving. Imparting education in mother tongues is also economically more viable.”

The Jharkhand Council of Educational Research and Training (JCERT) will publish the books and the syllabus has been prepared in this regard whereas testing of books will begin before long.

The newspaper quoted the Annual Status of Education Report 2014 showing the dismal dropout rate in the state.

“While 4.3% children of the state between 6 and 14 years of age are out of school, 29.6% of students studying in Class 2 cannot even recognize letters.”