Belonging to a Santhali medium school, Amardip Tudu emerged as the first boy in Higher Secondary examinations while Budhhadeb Mandi stood first in Madhyamik, this year.
Incidentally, though both are from the same Chandra K S H High School of Saltora in Bankura but Budhhadeb alone is allowed to continue his further education in his mother language while Amardip had to bid goodbye to Olchiki – the Santali language scripts he is accustomed with since his nursery classes in 2008.
On 17 December, 2007, school education minister Partha Dey of Left-Front regime had declared that Bengal was set to float Santali medium primary schools.
Amardip is from the first HS batch to complete school education in Santali medium, in the country. In the first batch, 175 students had appeared in HS from Santali medium, out of which, 143 qualified and 78 were from Bankura district alone.
However, Bengal is sincerely lacking a complete Santali medium college though the state had introduced Santali as a subject in undergraduate studies at Burdwan University in 2005, and 30 more colleges were later incorporated into this with postgraduate studies integrated in 2008.
“For this, uncountable students like Amardip are facing hindrance while looking for further learning in mother tongue,” exclaimed Subodh Hansda, state general secretary of ASECA (Adibasi Socio Educational & Cultural Association).
ASECA, on 20 July had drawn the attention of Partha Chatterjee, state Higher Education minister on the issue and the organisation had suggested names of 20 colleges under Vidyasagar University and Bankura University with a demand for extension of affiliation of Santali medium UG studies.
ASECA stated: “The extension is much needed for further education in Olchiki script as the students those were taught in Olchiki cannot continue further in other unfamiliar scripts.” Biplob Soren, a teacher at Sarenga in Bankura and Durgapur in Burdwan (West) led a delegation of HS pass-out students to Sujit Chakraborty, MLA, Barjora.
The state though is looking for remedy but text book and unavailability of trained expert faculties familiar with Olchiki, is posing a roadblock.
As Partha Chatterjee told The Statesman, “We have consistently been trying to elevate academic status of the Santali speaking people. Today itself we have approved Santali in Sabnang College in Midnapore (West).”
He added: “Unavailability of text books in Olchiki is the key hurdle. Still, we are on the process to arrange books.”