Prime Minister Narendra Modi has talked about the Gumla in Jharkhand-based school -Noor Edpa where education is provided in the Kuduk language, the mother tongue of many Oraon tribals.
PM Modi used his popular platform Maan Ki Baat to talk about and praise this Noor Edpa school and its innovative initiative to use the Kuduk language to educate students.
This was while PM Modi was addressing the 108th edition of the much-awaited "Mann Ki Baat", a monthly radio programme, on Sunday. This school in Gumla has been running with the philosophy of linking the native tongue with the English language.
Also adding students’ love for forests, rivers and wildlife is the focus of education in this school, and preservation of tribal languages and culture is the goal of the school.
The medium of instruction at the school is either in English or in Kuduk — the language of the Oraons.
It has over 500 students who talk only in Kuduk and English. Hindi is alien to these students as languages other than Kuduk and English are not permitted to be spoken on the school premises.
Founded by a group of tribal social leaders in 2000 in collaboration with the villagers, the school also teaches the students agriculture, fishery, animal husbandry and forestry.
“In today’s global era forests, rivers, hills, wildlife, tribal languages and cultures are at stake. Noor Edpa is a philosophy to preserve these essential things,” said Etwa Oraon, one of the founders.
Oraon, who is a Catholic priest and a teacher at Sacred Heart College, Shillong, came up with the idea of starting such a school. Along with a few friends, including senior IAS officer Vinod Kispotta and social leaders Joy Baxla and Ratan Tirkey, Oraon started the school in Gumla.
The villagers pooled together their resources to start the school. Later, Oraon and other founders mobilised resources from various quarters to keep it running. “The villagers are with us on our mission,” Baxla is on record having said.
The students understand the responsibility that is being reposed on them and have taken it seriously.
“We are very happy to learn Prime Minister Modiji spoke about our school and the importance of using the mother tongue to read and write. I feel lucky to be a part of this dream project,” said a tribal girl student in Class V at Noor Edpa. The management of the institution has applied to Jharkhand Academic Council for affiliation.
Though Noor Edpa is different from other schools in terms of the educational format, the subjects taught in other educational institutions are taught here too — the only difference being the medium and the focus of education.
“We are hopeful of producing a different group of educated tribal youths, who would be linked locally with their tribal language and connected globally with English,” Baxla thinks.