Bhubaneswar : Odisha Adivasi Manch (OAM) which has been campaigning in 22 districts on making a mother tongue based education a right for the children in the tribal communities decides to make the whole process a qualitative one. Speaking on the present campaign goals of OAM, State Convenor Ido Mandal adds “We aim to make the government notification that was out on 31st July, a reality whereby our children get education in our tribal dialect”.
On 31st July, the Chief Secretary gave out a notification to include curriculum in ten tribal dialects in the early childhood learning of a child in Anganwadi centre. Today, Odisha becomes a role model in terms of demonstrative projects on mother tongue based early childhood learning in the country; with 350 centres being run in Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada and Kandhamal, it has made education a reality for 15,000 tribal children between the age group of 0-6 years of age.
“Tribal children are scared of schools and this fear is because children are not being interacted in their mother tongue in the Anganwadi centres ; a mother tongue based early childhood education will give our children a stronger foundation and curtail the high dropout rate in later stages of education . ” added district Convenor Ms. Bidulata Huika from Rayagada.
Simanchal Nayak, OAM representative from Ganjam further says as a tribal network we aim to act as a monitoring agent in the whole process because it’s for the betterment of our children and if we don’t take accountability of the whole process we can’t always blame the government authorities for the implementation gaps that is visible in hilly, tribal hamlets across the state.”
“Children are the future, so in a way we are securing our future by giving our tribal children a qualitative education; and the foundation can only be stronger when it’s in our mother tongue says Salem Gomango.
Odisha Adivasi Manch works towards tackling a looming problem within the state of Odisha; high school dropout within tribal population and low literacy rate. And education in the mother tongue can bring about tremendous changes to the whole scenario.
OAM has been demanding for inclusion of a separate chapter in the draft policy on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) by Government of India, a state policy on mother tongue based preschool in tribal areas, appointment of tribal angawandi workers and relaxation of eligibility criteria; proper infrastructure, culture appropriate curriculum and all mini anganwadis to get status of anganwadis.
The Odisha Adivasi Mancha, an apex level tribal people’s network representing tribals of 22 districts of Odisha. It was initiated in the year 1994 at Paburia in Kondhamal. At present the OAM is active in 78 blocks spread over 22 districts of Odisha.