Demand For Odia Textbooks For Courses Beyond Class 10 Grows
As the exclusion of Odia language from the Ministry of Education’s SWAYAM portal fanned a furore across Odisha, several language experts and activists have called upon the state government to devise a roadmap to ensure books for higher education are made available in the native language. The activists noted that Odia textbooks would not only come to the aid of thousands of students to complete their higher secondary but also help promote the language.
“Due to lack of textbooks in Odia languages, students of state-run high schools are forced to continue plus two or higher secondary in English medium and face difficulties in comprehending. Even in the national level entrance tests like NEET and JEE-Mains, they get questions in Odia but they answer in English as they studied HS in the foreign language. If HS textbooks were made available for them in Odia then the success rate of students in the entrance would have been much more,” said Subrat Prusty, a researcher in Odia language and member secretary of the Institute of Odia Studies and Research.
The Centre’s decision to drop the Odia language from the online education portal was blamed on bureaucratic bungling and a lack of political will. Earlier, the SWAYAM portal used to have support for ten Indian languages, including Odia, to remove the barrier of language.
“It is very unfortunate that hundreds of Odia students are deprived of studying higher education in Odia due to sheer neglect and lack of concern by the state government. It has already been accepted that given an option around 42% of students would go for studying technical education in their mother tongue while around one-third of teachers in engineering colleges speak in the local language while demonstrating lessons,” Prusty added.