BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha Government plans to expand the mother-tongue based multi-lingual education (MLE) to all tribal districts.
Under the programme, so far, 545 schools with 100 per cent tribal children (monolingual) have been adopted since its initiation in 2007. Now, the Government wants to cover all tribal children in a phased manner.
The School and Mass Education Department, in a recently published resolution, has spelled out the future course of MLE under which mother tongue of the tribal children will be used as medium of instruction for five years of primary education.
During the first five years, Odia will be continued as second language from Class II while English will be introduced as a language subject in the MLE programme from Class III. This is aimed at not only improving the academic achievements but also ensuring high levels of proficiency in Odia and English since the transition is expected to be smooth.
To continue promoting and popularising the tribal languages, the Department has suggested that these could also be used as language subjects in post-primary levels starting from Class VI.
The MLE programme will also be extended to cover multi-lingual classrooms although it is currently monolingual in nature in the State. To achieve this, the Department has planned special strategies to foster multi-lingual proficiency among students. For this, specific teaching-learning plans will be created.
A pilot project will also be chalked out under which multi-lingual classrooms with children having three different mother-tongues will be identified. For developing the teaching-learning plans, an expert group will also be constituted. The Department plans to recruit teachers from different communities who have proficiency in the three languages - mother tongue, Odia and English - in this connection. To attract talented teachers, a long-term recruitment plan will also be drawn up.
A major emphasis will be to strike a balance between the languages and the cultural practices so that the tribal language finds its positioning among other dominant languages and its identity remains intact.
While the practice of developing language-specific and culturally-rooted textbooks under MLE will continue, separate textbooks for English will be prepared for tribal learners.
With 62 ethnic groups, Odisha is home to one of most diverse group of tribal communities in the country. Santhali continues to be the leading tribal language and a medium of instruction in tribal schools.
In first five years, Odia will be continued as second language from Class II
English will be introduced as a language in the MLE programme from Class III
Aimed at improving academic achievements and ensuring better proficiency in Odia and English
Teachers who have proficiency in three languages, mother tongue, Odia and English will be preferred