Odisha: Experts Call For Multilingual Education For Tribal Students In Higher Classes

Bhubaneswar: The learning ecosystem based on multilingual education (MLE) in Odisha should be extended beyond Class III for spreading education among the tribal youths, the experts have opined.


In Odisha, where there are 21 tribal languages and 74 dialects, the MLE-based learning ecosystem got a boost after regularisation of 64 posts of tribal language teachers on July 26, 2021.

The SSD schools (schools run by ST&SC, M&BCW Department) often find tribal children of more than one language group in one classroom due to the provision of free boarding facility. The engagement of MLE (tribal language teachers) aimed at addressing the language barrier faced by the tribal children in their classrooms, particularly in Class I to III.

Subsequently, the ST&SC, M&BCW Department created 200 posts of MLE teachers out of its 5,530 regular posts of teachers in 1,736 SSD schools across the state. Nearly 4.34 lakh students are studying in these schools out of which 90% belong to tribal communities.

Likewise, 27 regular MLE teachers for Gondi language in Nabarangpur district under the SSD schools were sanctioned on February 13, 2024. On February 16th, 250 regular posts of MLE teachers in different tribal languages under the Department were added, raising the number of MLE teachers in different districts to 577.

From 250 posts created for the MLE teachers on priority, 73 posts of the tribal language teachers were allotted to different district like Kui-1 (Kandhamal), Koya-2 (Malkangiri), Santhali-32 (Mayurbhanj), Munda/Mundari-1, Saura-9 and Kuvi-23 (Rayagada), Kissan-1 (Sambalpur), Munda/Mundari-1, Oraon-3 in Sundargarh district.

Educationists, linguists and anthropologists associated with tribal socio-cultural and economic development suggest that a detailed linguistic survey of the tribals (including the PVTGs) was necessary to ensure an effective MLE-based learning ecosystem.

“Besides, the local educated tribal youths should be included in the education system through SSD schools. Employment clauses could be relaxed for them to allow them to have CT/BEd/OTET while working in-service. They can go through summer/winter refresher courses as part of the NEP guidelines for the particular tribal languages/dialects,” the experts said.

“The tribal language teaching system is mainly restricted to the lower classes, i.e. Class I to III. But to make the tribal students comfortable with their studies, the MLE process must continue upto Class VIII and in some developed languages like Santhali, it can be extended upto Higher Secondary or even Graduation level,” they added.

Roopa Roshan Sahoo, secretary, ST&SC Development, Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare Department, said, “There is a long way to go for ensuring MLE education for the students of all tribal groups in Odisha, but the department has definitely done an outstanding work in appointing more and more tribal language teachers and enriching their experience with refresher courses so that they would be experts in “multiple tribal languages” and for better understanding of the tribal kids, and thus, enabling them to bridge the gaps in educational communication process.”

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Comments are closed.