Education in Chhattisgarh
Education is transforming the lives of millions in Chhattisgarh, where children are eager to study after innovations in village schools.
And the 20.8 crore tribals that make up over 33 per cent of the population here seem determined that that education include English.
“We want our children to be equipped to step out into the world,” says Prem Lal Saalam (30), speaking through an interpreter in a mix of tribal dialect and broken Hindi. “Today, even government jobs require some knowledge of the language.”“Most tribal children only know their own dialect. So to teach one English word, we first have to tell them the word in their dialect, then translate it into Hindi,” says D.R. Maurya, who teaches at a government primary school in Bastar. “Once the Hindi has been internalised, we teach them the English equivalent.”
Thanks to Hindi serials on cable TV, Maurya says, the students have a basic understanding of Hindi, so it can be used as a bridge language.
It’s a tedious process, but the results are encouraging.
Over 98 per cent of children aged 6 to 14 are now enrolled in Chhattisgarh’s 38,000 government schools — higher even than the national rural average of 95.7 per cent.
And the children are being lured to school — and kept there — through innovative schemes and even extra tuition for slower students.The results are already showing. The dropout rate in Chhattisgarh has dropped to 10 per cent.