Dharmendra Pradhan writes to Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh CMs to protect, promote Odia language | Bhubaneswar News

BHUBANESWAR: Protection and promotion of Odia language in neighbouring Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh has returned to focus.
Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday wrote to chief ministers of Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh to create enabling environment for Odia speaking students in the two states to learn in their mother tongue, while the Odisha government requested Jharkhand to restore Odia as a language in the curriculum of primary teachers’ training course.
Pointing out that the New Education Policy 2020 encourages states to teach students in their mother tongue for better cognitive development, Pradhan in a letter to Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, sought his “personal intervention in supporting and securing Odia language education in Jharkhand for its Odia speaking population.”
Jharkhand has an estimated 20 lakh Odia speaking people mainly concentrated in Kolhan division comprising Seraikela Kharsawan, East Singhbhum and West Singhbhum districts besides smaller population in Ranchi, Dhanbad, Bokaro, Simdega, Lahardega and Lathedar districts.
While more than 300 Odia medium schools were opened in the region in the period 1913-1948, after retirement of teachers posted in Odia medium schools, the Jharkhand government seems to be appointing Hindi teachers there, the Union education minister wrote.
“State education department has started merging Odia medium schools with Hindi medium schools. This step, citing availability of low number of Odia speaking students and staff as possible reasons, is clearly against the spirit of maintenance and promotion of linguistic diversity and rights of linguistic minorities as enshrined in our Constitution,” the Union minister wrote to the Jharkhand CM.
Amid recent protests in some parts of Jharkhand over poor patronage of Odia language in the neighbouring state, Odisha school and mass education minister Samir Ranjan Dash wrote to his Jharkhand counterpart Jagannath Mahto to restore Odia in the curriculum of primary teachers’ training course.
Referring to a recent advertisement for teachers’ recruitment by Jharkhand issued on September 20, Dash said that Odia language has been excluded while Sanskrit, Bengali, Urdu, Ho, Mundari, Santhali and Kudmali have been included as a paper. “This has created an atmosphere of dissent, distrust and discomfort fanning controversies among Odia speaking people,” Dash wrote.
Dash pointed that Odisha has been supporting 35 Odia medium schools in Jharkhand and has been giving funds for 160 teachers through Utkal Sammilani to impart education in Odia.
In another letter to Andhra’s Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, Pradhan reminded that during demarcation of borders between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, the two states had entered into an agreement to cater to the needs of Telugu speaking students in Odisha and Odia speaking students in Andhra. While Odisha is allowing students to learn Telugu, “requisite support is not being extended to students of Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam districts who wish to learn Odia,” he wrote.
“The government of Andhra Pradesh is yet to supply text books to the Odia medium students in Class X. Schools have reopened in Andhra Pradesh, but Odia text books are yet to reach the students,” he added.
Pradhan asked Reddy to recruit Odia teachers in the border schools and supply text books to Odia students on time.

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