Fifteen years after the state was carved out, Jharkhand primary schools will have books from their state Board, highlighting their own heritage, culture, history and geography.
Come April 1, when the new session starts, tribal students of classes I and II in government schools will also get books in five major tribal languages of the state — Santhali, Ho, Mundari, Khariya and Kuruk — to bring down the dropout rate.
The state has so far followed the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) syllabus, which has a national orientation. The Jharkhand State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT) will take over now, distributing the books free to students up to Class V.
“The overall orientation of the course will be as per NCERT guidelines, but the chapters will seek to shed more light on unique aspects of the state, as also (highlight) Jharkhand’s culture, heritage and the current situation,” SCERT’s director Manish Ranjan, who is leading the project, said. The idea is that students should know first about their own state, and its environs, before learning about bigger, pan-India issues.
As part of this effort, children will be taught about famous tourist sites, religious places (Deoghar, etc), national park, state flower (palash), Jharkhand’s indigenous forms of dance and art, and delicacies such as dhuska. The new books will include sections on personalities such as Birsa Munda and Sido Kanhu, who led agitations against the British and have almost reached a status of divinity among the people, as also on renowned sportspersons from the state, such as cricketer M S Dhoni, archer Deepika Kumari, former Olympian and hockey captain Jaipal Singh Munda, and mountaineer Premlata Agarwal, the oldest Indian woman to scale Mt Everest.
SCERT’s Ranjan said the exercise is on for the last six months in association with NCERT. “The chapters have been prepared by teachers of Jharkhand schools, with overall supervision from the NCERT, and we held several workshops (to update all teachers). The books have gone into printing,” he said.
The SCERT director said children from tribal families face a problem of adjustment and coping up when they join formal schools, as languages such as Hindi and English are foreign to them. “This leads to high dropout. So we plan to begin teaching them in their own language and gradually introduce Hindi and English.” He said 30 books — six each for the five tribal languages —will be provided to students at the block level.
To make the education system more interactive, Ranjan said government schools will now introduce project work and involve students in discussions. Local problems related to environment, water shortage, the movement to save forest land in the state, as well as traffic jams in cities such as Ranchi will be included in these books.