Native tongue should be included in early schooling: Academics
(5 months ago)
New Delhi, Dec 14 : A child's native tongue should not be given a short shrift during his or her pre-primary years as local language is the most important tool for understanding basic concepts in that period, an academic said on Thursday.
Sunita Singh, Director of Childhood Education Centre at the Ambedkar University, made the point on the first day of a two-day national conference on 'early language and literacy', organised by the Centre for Early Childhood Education and Development (CECED) in collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
"We think that language literacy should find some space in the policy... Languages early in the age should be taught meaningfully. Children should be able to connect," she said.
Other speakers also advocated for multilingual teaching during the early years of a child and for a major policy change in favour of the inclusion of local language texts.
Speaking to IANS later, Sunita Singh stressed that the current method of teaching involves rote learning in which children merely mug up texts without understanding much, which needs to change.
"Mother tongue is important for any children for the clarification of basic concepts of things. By the time a child goes to school, he already starts speaking his mother tongue and refers to objects in that language. Now, if we suddenly ask the child to drop that language and impose two alien languages... it would be a great injustice," she said.
She maintained that English and Hindi should hold the position they do presently in the teaching of the curriculum, but "local languages should also be respected".
Apart from academics from several universities, many NGOs working in the field of literacy also took part in the conference.