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Dilemma in languages

Tribal languages aren’t really flourishing in the tribal state of Jharkhand, a trend that has been reinforced in the JAC-conducted secondary examinations in which few students have managed good grades in the study of say, Nagpuri, Ho, Santhali and other local languages.

Results declared on Tuesday revealed that not a single student scored an A-plus in Nagpuri and Khortha, only 10 candidates managed an A-plus in Kurmali language and only nine got an A-plus in Oraon.

Among those who scored A-plus grades, 51 studied Ho, 96 Santhali, 33 Mundari and 43 in Panch Pargania (see chart).

According to Jharkhand Academic Council rules, each candidate needs to opt for three languages — Hindi and English are compulsory, a third language is a must.

Students opted for nine tribal languages this year, namely, Ho, Mundari, Santhali, Oraon, Panch Pargania, Nagpuri, Kurmali and Khortha.

In Ranchi district, the regional language spoken is Nagpuri, while Kurmali and Panch Pargania are spoken in South Chotanagpur. Likewise, Khortha and Santhali are popular in the Santhal Pargana region while Kurukh and Oraon are spoken in Gumla district.

There are various reasons behind the low popularity of tribal languages with youngsters, with lack of teachers standing out as the main factor.

This apart, use of tribal languages have come down drastically, limited largely within households.

“Families are using regional languages in their homes, whereas the languages aren’t used much in academics due to lack of infrastructures and proper software. As a result, regional languages are unable to flourish and students are suffering and unable to score good grades,” explained Rabindra Prasad Singh, general secretary of Jharkand State Secondary Teachers’ Association.

Almost all schools lacked adequate number of tribal teachers, he said, adding that the state government should encourage training in various tribal languages, to stem the rot.

“We have requested the state government to lay more emphasis on regional languages, so that tribal students can score better marks,” Singh claimed.

School principals are equally worried about students scoring low grades in tribal languages.

Md R. Jama said they had sanctioned posts for subjects like science, maths, Sanskrit, Hindi and Urdu.

But, the state had failed to sanction posts for tribal language teachers.

“If teachers are appointed in tribal languages, I am sure our students, who are from remote areas and converse in their mother tongue, can also do well academically,” said the principal of Rajkishore Ucch Vidhalaya, Makka in Ranchi’s Burmu block.