Monday December 10, 2018

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

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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.”

ALSO READ: Now students in Punjab to learn science in their mother tongue

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.”

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Copyright 2015 NewsGram

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Children In California To Return To School, 3 Weeks After The Wildfire

Schoolwork will probably be secondary to dealing with trauma and reconnecting with friends, said Paradise High Principal Loren Lighthall.

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Erica Hail hugs her son Jaxon Maloney, 2, while preparing her older children for their first day of school since the Camp Fire destroyed their home in Yuba City, Calif. VOA

Eight-year-old Bella Maloney woke up next to her little brother in a queen-size bed at a Best Western hotel and for breakfast ate a bagel and cream cheese that her mother brought up from the lobby.

And then she was off to school for the first time in nearly a month.

For Bella, brother Vance and thousands of other youngsters in Northern California who lost their homes or their classrooms in last month’s deadly wildfire, life crept a little closer to normal Monday when school finally resumed in most of Butte County.

“They’re ready to get back,” Bella’s mother, Erica Hail, said of her children. “I think they’re sick of Mom and Dad.” At school, “they get to have time alone in their own space and their own grade and they get to just be by themselves.”

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Erica Hail, back left, dresses son Vance Maloney, 5, while preparing her children for their first day of school since the Camp Fire destroyed their home in Yuba City, Calif. voa

Schools in the county had been closed since Nov. 8, when the blaze swept through the town of Paradise and surrounding areas, destroying nearly 14,000 homes and killing at least 88 people in the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century. About two dozen people remain unaccounted for, down from a staggering high of 1,300 a few weeks ago.

About 31,000 students in all have been away from school since the disaster. On Monday, nearly all of them went back, though some of them attended class in other buildings because their schools were damaged or destroyed, or inaccessible inside evacuation zones.

Bella was shy and not very talkative but agreed she was excited to be going back. She wanted to see her friends.

The small, tidy hotel room with two queen beds has been home to the family of five for some two weeks. Since they lost nearly everything to the fire, there was little to clutter up the space. The Hails are booked there until February.

“Bella, what time is it?” Hail asked her daughter, waking her up in their hotel room.

“Seven dot dot three five,” came the 8-year-old’s sing-song reply. 7:35. It was time to brush her teeth, comb her hair and hit the road for a nearly hourlong drive to school in the family SUV.

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Bella Maloney, 8, arrives for her first day of school since the Camp Fire leveled her family’s home, in Durham, Calif. VOA

A few minutes later, at seven-dot-dot-four-seven, they were out the door.

Some families driven out by the inferno have left the state or are staying with friends or relatives too far away for the children to go back to school in Butte County.

The Hails — whose five-bedroom, two-bath home in Paradise was destroyed — are staying in Yuba City, a long drive from their new school in Durham.

It was shortly before the 9 a.m. start of the school day when they pulled up to Durham Elementary School, where Bella is in third grade and Vance is in half-day kindergarten.

Across the county, nearly all of the teachers are returning to provide a familiar and comforting face to the children.

“It’s important that the kids are able to stay together and have some sort of normalcy in the crazy devastation that we’re having now,” said Jodi Seaholm, whose daughter Mallory is a third-grader.

Mallory underwent radiation in October to treat a recurrence of brain cancer and showed no fear, Seaholm said, but “this situation with her house burning down has absolutely devastated her.”

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Trees reflect in a swimming pool outside Erica Hail’s Paradise, Calif., home, which burned during the Camp Fire. VOA

Counselors brought in from around the country were in nearly every classroom Monday to help children who were distressed by their escape through a burning town and the loss of their homes, Paradise school Superintendent Michelle John said at a celebratory news conference. Many of the teachers lost their homes as well.

“Our kids are traumatized,” John said. “Their families are traumatized.”

Most of Paradise High School survived but is inaccessible.

The district doesn’t have space yet for intermediate and high school students whose classrooms were rendered unusable, so for the 13 days before the holiday break begins, they will learn through independent study. They will have access to online assignments and a drop-in center at a mall in Chico where they can get help from teachers or see classmates.

Also Read: Australia Suffers From Heat And Fuel Wildfires

Schoolwork will probably be secondary to dealing with trauma and reconnecting with friends, said Paradise High Principal Loren Lighthall.

“They don’t have their church, they don’t have their school, they don’t have their work, they don’t have their friends. They don’t have any of that stuff, and we’re asking them to write five-paragraph essays?” Lighthall said. “It’s just unreasonable at this point. We’re going to do it, but we’re going to be super flexible with what we require.” (VOA)