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Sunday, February 15, 2009

For want of textbook in mother tongue

Rabiul Hasan, Chapainawabganj
Want of textbooks in mother languages and lack of teachers from the communities hamper schooling of indigenous children in the district.
Most of the indigenous children of different villages in Chapainawabganj Sadar, Gomostapur and Nachole upazila in the district have hardly any scope to speak their mother tongue outside their community. At school, they learn Bangla and English but not their mother language. Language barrier affects not only their learning but also relationship between Bangalee and indigenous students.
Krishna Baski, Palboti Murmu and Ratan Tudu, class two students of Bill Bailtha Adibasi Adarsha Primary School, are lucky enough as their teachers belonging to indigenous Kole community speak the mother tongue. However, they are far from getting a smooth learning atmosphere as textbooks are in Bangla and English.
Condition of most other indigenous learners in the district is worse as they have to get instruction from Bangla speaking teachers.
According to indigenous leaders in Chapainawabganj, at least 25,000 indigenous people belonging to Santal, Oraon, Mahato, Kole, Rajbangshi, and a few other small indigenous communities live in the district. The Santals are the largest community among them.
“Indigenous children are deprived as there is lack of textbooks in mother languages.
Our Santali language is being used in Roman alphabet,” said Markus Murmu, a teacher of Bill Bailtha Adibasi Adarsha Primary School of Bill Bailtha village under Jhilim union in Sadar upazila.
“Dropout rate among the indigenous children is very alarming. They lose interest in learning as the medium of early education is not mother language,” said Dr Mazharul Islam Toru, a researcher and associate professor of Bangla department of Chapainawabganj Government College.
Bangladesh is a signatory to the United Nations charter that gives all communities of the world the right to receive education in their mother language.
A bill ratifying the charter was passed in parliament in 1997, but the law is yet to see implementation in case of indigenous people.

Source: 12:00 AM, February 15, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 15, 2009
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