Report by Ananta Prasad, Bhubaneswar: Padmashree Dillip Tirkey, MP Rajya Sabha launched the animation film "Ganugun Bati Ahangna" (Learning with Dignity), a story of a five year old tribal girl Jhilli. The animated movie is meant to sensitise the issue of early childhood education in mother tongue.
While addressing the gathering Shri Tirkey quoting Mahatma Gandhi said “The father of the nation has lucidly said that the growth of a nation takes place when a child starts respecting his motherland, mother tongue and only a foundation in early years in one’s own language create socially conscious citizens.” He further emphasised, “It is very important for tribal children to have their Early Childhood Education in mother tongue that will allow the retention of tribal culture and heritage and shall also empower a child to be confident in later years.”
“Giving a brief introduction on the current situation of literacy rate in tribal areas in the state, Mr. Ido Mandal, State Convenor, Odisha Adivasi Manch said a demand for an education in mother tongue( trial language) is the answer to the impending illiteracy in the state”.
Ms. Dharitri Patnaik, India Representative of Bernard van Leer Foundation which supports the mother tongue based early childhood education stressed that “ 1.4 million young tribal children in Odisha do not have access to quality early childhood education as language is a huge barrier to learning and retention”.
“It’s a matter of fact that Odisha has the 3rd largest concentration of tribals in the country and yet it has a literacy rate of 37% only in comparison to 63% of the state. We are happy that the issue is widely being accepted and people are able to understand the intricacy of a tribal child’s right to get early education in their mother tongue. This shall guarantee children a greater degree of social adjustment.” Said, Mr. Ido Mandal, State Convenor Odisha Adivasi Manch.
It is worth mentioning that Odisha Adivasi manch is advocating for the educational right of tribal children especially on early childhood education. In a major development, the Chief Secretary has ordered on 30th July this year that tribal children will study in their mother tongue upto class three. Adding to the fact research has shown that when children start their pre-schools in their mother tongue their brain s faster and their ability to learn multiple languages grow. “This animation movie will spread the message of mother tongue based early childhood education in the state”, said Mr Sudhir Digal, Founder of VASA, another organisation advocating in this campaign.
“Jhili loves to sing and dance likes her friend Geeta. She wants to learn new things, but she cannot understand the language of instruction in the Anganwadi centre. Five year old Jhili from a tribal hamlet in Rayagada supported her mother in household work till Ebani Didi from her community came forward to show her a ray of hope and bring her back to school. Ebani Didi also counsels the villagers about language relevant education. The 2D Animation Film "Ganugun Bati Ahangna" (Learning with Dignity) is depicting the new hopes of Jhilli.