The International Mother Language Day is observed with enthusiasm and solemnity from 19-21 February 2018 at KIIT Campus –VI, Bhubaneswar under the Chairmanship of Shri R.N Dash, IAS, (Retd.) Secretary, KIIT & KISS. Prof. Dr.HarekrishnaSatpathy, Vice Chancellor, KISS Deemed University, Dr. JyotshnaMohanty, HoD, Department of Anthropology, Kamala Nehru Women’s College, and Dr. Santosh Kumar Parida, State Resource Person, OPEPA spoke on the significance of mother language especially to rationalize the MLE programme among the indigenous communities. Dr. Paramananda Patel, Language Expert, ATLC, Government of Odisha presented the anthropological and socio-economic and cultural background of the indigenous communities in Odisha.
On the occasion of International Mother Language Day, under the MTBMLE project, KISS could organize four parallel workshops focussing on the themes:
• Early Childhood Education: Issues and concern (with special reference to indigenous children)&
• Role of folk literature and traditional games in informal education and how it can be connected to the formal education.
The MLE teachers of OPEPA, teachers of ST&SC Development Department and primary school teachers of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), the delegates from several tribal dominated districts, academicians, language experts, parents and community members engaged themselves in the discussion meetings/workshops. They reflected upon and shared their practical experiences with respect to the early childhood education.
Agreeing that a child learns from mother’s womb in mother language; almost all the delegates were in opinion that, the early childhood education should be based on his/her mother language, culture, context and experiences. Parent’s attitude, awareness and teachers’ commitment are the crucial factors in upgrading primary education among the indigenous communities.
From Group work activities some key issues and concerns emerged as follows:
• Children feel isolated in school
• Absentmindedness of children at class room •Children won’t follow due to language gap
• Low level of literacy among parents
• Untrained teachers
• Language deficiency among MLE teachers
•Insufficient teaching and learning materials (TLM) • Limited experience of teachers on the use of appropriate TLM
• Unfamiliar learning environment
• Teaching on subject that is unknown to the children
The groups came out with some remedial measures as follows:
• Periodic contact with parents through family visit.
• Try to understand language and thought of the children
• Follow MTBMLE process
• Start teaching from what children know
• Create and provide free and open environment for children • Develop culture and context specific teaching learning materials
• Be patience while listening to children
• Use of innovative activity based of teaching
• The separately made 4 categories of language groups such as 1. Juango, Paraja, Gadaba, Bonda&Didayi, 2. Desia, Sadri, Relly, Binjhal, Sambalpuri, 3. Kui, Kuvi, Kisan, Oram& 4. Santal, Ho, Munda&Saura consisting of MLE Teachers, Language Experts, parents and community members came out with 3 each folk stories, songs,
games and riddles. Further primers would be developed for early childhood education based on these folk literature and traditional games in the 18 tribal and communicative languages. It will ease the children to be active in the class and to understand better in mother tongue.
Inauguration of MTBMLE Avenues:
Taking into account of the significant presence of delegates from both state and district levels, MLE Teachers, Parents and community members, KISS could inaugurate some necessary avenues to be exclusively utilized for accelerating MTBMLE programme in KISS as follows:
• Inauguration of Language Learning Centre (Training & documentation)
• Website of MTBMLE video www.mtbmle.org.in
• Inauguration of four theme based tribe specific (LanjiaSaura, DangiriaKondh, Gond&Santal) SMART Classrooms.
Ms. Prada Panigrahi,India Programme Manager, BvLF, Hon’ble Founder of KISS & KIIT Dr. AchyutaSamanta, and Prof. Dr. HarekrishnaSatpathy, Vice Chancellor, KISS Deemed to-be-University, ShriUdayanathMajhi, IRS (Retd.) a Tribal Writer on Early Childhood Education (Santal) with all good wishes inaugurated the SMART Class building, MTBMLE website and Centre of Language Learning Centre for the purpose of effective implementation of MTBMLE in KISS, Bhubaneswar. The language Learning Centre will be facilitating training to the Teachers basically to promote and sustain MTBMLE.
The valedictory session: Valedictory session was organized at children’s park moderated by Dr. Prasanta Kumar Routray, Chief Executive Officer, KISS followed by a cultural evening. Ms. Preetienlightened children saying “dear children feel proud of being in KISS and try to harvest as much you can during your staying in KISS.” All the State and District Resource Persons under OPEPA were felicitated and honoured for their meaningful participation and contribution.
Conclusion: Observation of International Mother Language Day provided a space for an assembly of eminent State and district level delegates from several background and capacities in terms of tribal language and early childhood education of indigenous communities.
It was also an avenue to strengthen our alliance with ST&SC development department and Odisha Primary Education Programme Authority, Government of Odisha. It paved the way for future collaborative engagement.