The need for mother tongue-based Early Childhood Education (ECE) was highlighted through a five-minute documentary “Ganugun Bati Ahanga __ Ama Anganwadi Ama Bhasare,” at a special screening here on Tuesday.
Tribal students across the State are facing problems when it comes to understanding courses, which are being taught in Odia, and not in their mother tongue.
Inaugurating the documentary, Rajya Sabha member Dilip Tirkey said he himself faced problems while studying in a village school, where the medium of instruction was Odia.
“Community level awareness about ECE is important. Tribal children will be scared to go to schools if they come to know that they will not understand anything which the teacher says,” Tirkey said.
The documentary revolves around two small girls, Jhili and Geeta, who go to different Anganwadis. Jhili had to leave the Anganwadi as the teacher there did not teach them in their dialects.
Geeta takes Jhili to her Anganwadi where they were taught not only in their mother tongue, but also in a playful environment.
Snehasis Das, the director of the documentary, said the animated film was a part of a campaign to sensitise people about ECE in tribal language. The documentary, made in three months, was also scripted by Das.
Odisha Adivasi Manch State convenor Ido Mandal said mother tongue-based education is important at the pre-primary level for tribal students.
“It is important not just for the education of the tribal children, but also saving the tribal language. Most of the tribal children these days do not know their mother tongue,” lamented Mandal.
“If children are taught in their mother tongue during the early stages of their life, they will be better prepared to understand other languages too,” Mandal said.
Around 1.4 million tribal children in the State have no access to education in their mother tongue. “There is a need for the Government to take action to tackle this problem,” Bernard van Leer Foundation India representative Dharitri Patnaik said.