Today, the drive for universal education has meant that nearly all adivasi children are going to school. Yet very few of them have the opportunity to learn in their own language, or encounter text books which reflect their specific culture or heritage.
Both Santali and Kora have a rich oral tradition but little literature. For Santali, a script was made in the 1920s, but since most Santals have been excluded from education it is not widely used. In the area immediately around Suchana, no one was available to teach the script. It is also not possible for Santal children to use the script in school – for school, they must learn the Bengali script. To our knowledge the Kora language, on the other hand, has never been written.
Suchana has tried to introduce learning through the first language in the early years, and to promote the use of the first language alongside Bengali throughout primary education. But there is no children’s literature to draw on that might support these efforts. So Suchana’s Santal and Kora teachers set out gradually to develop resources which could help them in their first language teaching.
These resources are also distributed to schools and organisations interested in first language teaching and learning for adivasi groups. Suchana is happy to make them available here for use by anyone working with Santal and Kora children.