Sikshasandhan in collaboration with Oxfam organized a MLE Consultation Meet on 19th March in Bhubaneswar. The major objectives of the programme were to discuss different decisions under Multi Lingual Education ( MLE) Policy, disseminating the provisions and coming up with an implementation road map.
The inaugural session was presided by Mr. Anil Pradhan, Member Secretary, Sikshasandhan with Dr. Debiprasanna Pattnaik, Dr. Ajit Kumar Mohanty, Dr. Mohit Mohan Mohan Mohanty, Mr. Surai Hembram and Mr. Akshaya Biswal as distinguished guests.
Among others, it was highlighted during the discussion that language is a major hurdle in the path of universal education. Uniforms, mid day meals and text books can ensure enrollment but cannot keep them in the classroom. The tribal children belonging to a different linguistic community do not understand what the teacher teaches in class.
In this context, the MLE policy was formulated to tackle the language issue since 1st July, 2014. But the pity lies in the fact that the policy has not been implemented in its true letter and spirit. A detailed discussion was done on the current status of the policy and challenges were outlined.
It was commonly agreed that if we want to ensure education for the tribal children, mother tongue based education and multi lingual education must be ensured.
Odisha is home to 62 tribal groups, including 13 primitive tribal groups. The statistics shows 62.9% children from the tribal communities leave school before completing grade eight, which is now a right under the right to education act in India.
Although there are reasons like poor infrastructure but quality issues like unavailability of mother tongue based teaching plays a significant role at the primary stage. Oxfam India and Sikshasandhan are continuously raising this issue at the project level as well as with the district and state authorities, demanding promotion of mother tongue based multi lingual education.
About 110 participants from different civil society organizations, individuals working on the issue within and outside the state and concerned persons from the government departments were a part of the programme.