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Bihar to teach primary school children in home languages
From the ensuing academic session, Bihar education department has decided to use local dialects of different areas of the state for teaching school children in grades 1 and 2 in its primary schools, apart from Hindi or Urdu from grade 3 onwards as school languages.

According to the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT) in Patna, teaching for grades 1 and 2 will be done in dialects or home languages such as Maithili, Bhojpuri, Magahi, Angika and Vajjika with transition to Hindi or Urdu in grade 3 through the specially designed learning material called Language Bridge Material (LBM) supported by teacher training and a teachers' guidebook, reported The Times of India.

Teaching in mother tongue or home language or local dialect up to grade three has been successfully demonstrated through research projects worldwide before transition to the standard language or school language. A study done under Educational Research and Innovation Committee (ERIC) of the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in Rajasthan a few years ago proved that well-developed and properly implemented transitional course in local dialect (Dundarhi) with cultural linkage can lead to better learning of a standard language (Hindi) effectively.

According to me, having been an expeienced educator, if initial teaching is not done it results into language and communication gap (LCG), which is a barrier to the ability to understand and use words in context, both verbally and non-verbally.

Some characteristics of LCG are due to inadequate vocabulary, improper use of words, inability to follow directions, and use of inappropriate grammatical patterns due to local influences on speech if school language is different than the home language in early primary grades.

Furthermore, in rural and tribal areas, where the home language and the school language differ widely, one or more of the combinations of these LCG characteristics may occur among children. Unless attended to, children may hear or see words but may not be able to understand their meaning. Both teachers and children may have trouble in getting one another to understand what they are trying to communicate.

However, the educational sector reforms in government often fail, as they are implemented as a fad or imposed from top rather than being evolved from the ground realities and felt need. Moreover, reforms must pass through experimental, verification and expansion stages  with active involvement of teachers to succeed.

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