State-run schools in Jharkhand will impart Hindi and Mathematics lessons to students between class one and three in their tribal mother tongue, a state official said on Monday, aiming to curb a high dropout rate in primary classes.
Tribals constitute nearly 26% of the state’s 3.29-crore population but lags way behind in literacy parameters, recent surveys have showed. 4.3% of 6 to 14-year-old children are out of school.
Lack of education and economic backwardness also make the tribals – the state has 32 groups -- the prime targets of Maoist outfits which lure young boys and girls to join their ranks.
State school education and literacy secretary Aradhna Patnaik said that move of teaching in tribal languages was expected to bridge the communication gap between students and teachers, which in turn is likely to bring down the drop-out rate.
She said the education department has translated textbooks on the two subjects in Ho, Santhali, Mundari, Kudukh and Kharia languages for students of classes 1 to 3. The books will be used from the next academic session in 2016-17.
The project will be initially introduced in government schools where students have the same mother tongue and eventually in all the 45,680 schools across the tribal state.
Later on, schools where students from different tribes study will have separate classes for students of separate tribes.
The books will also have examples the students can relate to.
“Instead of using pencils or balls as examples in mathematics, the books would be using sticks, marbles etc. to which the rural children can relate,” said Patnaik.
The initiative comes as an effort to combat the poor academic knowledge of students in the rural government schools.
The latest Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), 2014, had recently highlighted that 55.7% class 1 students in rural Jharkhand cannot recognise letters of the English alphabet, while 53.7% students of the same class cannot recognise single-digit numbers.
The report further revealed that due to an abysmal situation in the lower classes not all class 8 students could even recognise the letters of English alphabet.
The use of mother tongue or local language in teaching school students has been a topic of debate across the country with some academicians claiming that the process may make the child uncomfortable in using mainstream languages such as Hindi and English and lower his self-confidence due to lack of ability to communicate.
However, in Jharkhand, this new system has been planned in a way that students will not only understand the subjects due to use of local language but also gradually become fluent in the mainstream languages such as Hindi and English, claimed the school education secretary.