Language Tools and Database for Schooling

The primary difficulty in providing tribal population access to quality education, arises from the language situation. In India, most states were created on linguistic basis, and the language of the state became the natural medium of schooling in the respective states. The Census of India lists nearly 200 ‘other’ languages with a population of 10,000 or above. Many of these ‘other’ languages are spoken by Adivasi communities. When the teachers appointed to schools in the tribal villages are from outside the respective speech community, it leads to a situation where the teacher and the child cannot communicate.

The Academy noticed this situation while running non-formal schools in tribal villages. We decided to create ‘Pictorial Glossaries’ in tribal and nomadic languages for several communities to help the school teachers in bridging the communication gaps between them and their pupils. Bhasha has created Pictorial Glossaries in 12 Adivasi and 5 nomadic languages of Gujarat. We hope this will bring you to Tejgadh to enjoy the experience personally! Several of the Adivasi language glossaries have been availed by the Gujarat Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for use in tribal area schools.

Ms. Lina Khan, an American India Foundation’s Clinton Fellow with Bhasha during 2017-18 undertook a study of Bhasha’s multilingual bridge schooling programme and particularly the glossaries and how they have been useful to the schools. She found that the Pictorial Glossaries are an extremely effective tool for teachers in Grades 1 and 2 and recommends that orientation programmes should be held for teachers in the use of the glossaries.

The glossaries are not a one-time product and hold scope to be innovatively modified and expanded to serve the needs of teachers and children. Bhasha prepares new glossaries from time to time as well as holds workshops for other organisations/educationists who wish to develop glossaries in the languages spoken in their area.

The glossaries benefit the educational empowerment of the tribal communities along with safeguarding the language stock of Adivasi languages many of which are in vulnerable state in the face of deforestation, migration and modernisation.