Education in mother languages stressed

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 4:

Participants of an interaction on “Challenges of Education in Mother Language” today demanded the government to promote education in mother languages to help maintain cultural identity of the people. The interaction was organised by Association of Nepalese Indigenous Journalists (ANIJ). “Any individual can grasp knowledge best in his or her mother language moreover, it is right of the citizens to receive education in their respective mother languages at least up to primary level,” said Amresh Narayan Jha, president of Maithili Federation. Jha, who is also the convener of the Lingual Rights Struggle Committee, said it’s the duty of state to provide education in mother languages. “However, the state mechanism still holds negative thinking towards the use of mother languages,” he said adding,

“Therefore we are fighting against it.”

Presenting a concept paper Arjun Limbu of Kirat Yakthum Chumlung said the mother language

should not be limited to primary education. The language should be disseminated as informal education and also in the higher studies. “Lingual activists and indigenous leaders and organisations working for the welfare of the nationalities should have monitored the change in curriculum of the textbooks with respect to the respective mother languages,” he said.

“The government has agreed to provide primary education in mother languages as a political agenda without appointing necessary teachers. With no capable teachers in the districts the government’s plan of providing education in mother languages is not realised and the textbooks in mother languages are gathering dust in stores.” He demanded a separate body at the Janak Educational Material Centre to look into different aspects of publication of textbooks in mother languages.

Former headmaster Harka Raj Chongbang said there is an acute need of informal educational institutions to teach various languages of the nation. He also demanded a multilingual university. Khushiyali Subba of National Foundation for the Development of Indigenous and

Nationalities informed that the foundation last year documented languages and grammar of eight languages and five more languages are in the pipeline. A writer of Magar language books Man Bahadur Thapa said the nation could not develop because the nation did nothing to promote mother languages. Som Bahadur Tamang of Nepal Tamang Ghedung said there are some 400 Tamang language teachers ready to teach the language.