For the Day:

In Madhya Pradesh, a school where language is not a bar

Alirajpur: Villagers of Kakrana, worried about the low literacy rate of the people living here who are mainly tribal, have come up with a school which teaches children in their mother tongue – Bheeli.

For decades, the language barrier between the tribal population and medium of education has been a big hurdle as local government schools teach in Hindi.

“There are government schools here but they teach in Hindi which most do not understand. So we came up with this school where we teach in Bheeli. Students who have passed out from here are doing graduation, preparing for IITs,” Kemat Gawle, manager of Rani Kajal Mata School says.

Mr Gawle has also come up with a course book in Bheeli. Even mathematics here is taught in the tribal language and the commitment to their mother tongue has encouraged tribal children to study.

This experiment, on the Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat border, has shown positive results and the number to tribal students in schools has significantly gone up.

Teacher Mansingh Solanki was from the first batch of this school. Today he is a graduate and has decided to teach other students who face the same challenges as he once did.

“I too faced problem studying in Hindi. Then I joined here and finished my graduation in Science. I have now come back to teach and help the students,” Mr Solanki says.

The school had a humble beginning with a batch of 40 students in year 2000 but now boasts of over 200 students from over 60 villages. Of those studying, almost 40 percent are school dropouts who had problems studying in Hindi. At least 160 more are waiting for admission.

Vanita, a student, says, “I have come here from Madhapalli to study. I was in a government school where they taught in Hindi and so I had to drop out. Here I am taught in Bheeli which I understand.”