THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a first in the country, the State Institute of Educational Technology (SIET), an autonomous institution under the General Education Department, has made digital contents in tribal languages so as to make tribal children learn their own languages in a much easier way.
At present, tribal children can’t learn their indigenous languages properly as the languages don’t have any scriptures and teaching through verbal format has proved ineffective.
The digital contents, including video format, animation and audio clips, will be made available to the tribal students of Class I from the coming academic year starting June. In addition, the contents will also help them learn Malayalam as the teachers could translate the tribal languages into Malayalam through the sub-titles displayed on the screens.
B Aburaj, Director, SIET- Kerala, told Express the idea of making digital content was mooted after many students discontinued school education as the tribal languages could not be learnt through textbooks. “All tribal languages in the state don’t have any scriptures. So it is hard for tribal students to learn further. But a majority of students had to discontinue their studies as they could not understand the language in the present education system.
Hence we had planned to make digital contents in tribal languages,” he said. In the first phase, SIET has made the digital contents in Adiya, Paniya, Oorali and Kattunaikkar tribal languages for Class I. According to SIET, digital contents would be made in more tribal languages in the coming years and would make them available for higher classes in the tribal sector.
“Mainly, the video, animation and audio formats of the languages have been made with the help of tribal people. A total of 14 tribal people participated in making the contents in the digital format. Some of them have lent their voice for audio clips while some others assisted in video production. With this initiative, the tribal languages will be preserved and a digital archive will be maintained in future. The languages will be made available in the SIET learning portal,” Aburaj added.
As per the 2001 Census, India has 1,576 ‘rationalised’ mother tongues and the new Census (2011) is still not out. And as per US-based international language body, Ethnologue, India has 454 languages, out of which only 120 are scripted and the remaining are unscripted. Therefore, India has more unscripted and endangered languages than scripting languages.