Radio Dhimsa in Odisha

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    Recently, Dhimsa Community Radio Station has successfully brought school lessons to the poor tribal students in Odisha’s Koraput district who do not have internet access or cannot afford a smartphone.

    Background

    • In June 2021, Odisha State School Education Programme Authority started streaming live classes on YouTube.
    • However, hundreds of students (mostly from the tribal districts like Koraput, Kandhamal, Gajapati, Rayagada, Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh and Keonjhar) do not have the internet connectivity to access the lessons.
      • Odisha’s telephone density was 76.46 per cent against the national average of 87.37 per cent as on March 2020, according to Odisha Economic Survey, 2020-21.
      • Similarly, 43.95 per cent of the population were Internet subscribers compared to the national average of 55.12 per cent.
    • Also, the poor tribals cannot afford the expensive smartphone sets to continue their classes.

    About Radio Dhimsa

    • Dhimsa Community Radio Center was set up by South Odisha Voluntary Action (SOVA), which is a Koraput based non-profit organisation (NPO).
    • It initially started broadcasting educational content for students in 2016.
    • It started focusing on special education programmes when the classroom studies stopped, after the outbreak of the Covid-19, with an aim to close the digital divide in education.
    • Currently, it broadcasts educational content to over 2,000 students of Classes I-V in 62 villages of six panchayats in Koraput and Lamptaput blocks.
    • SOVA has developed education programmes on Mathematics and English for primary levels with the help of school teachers and education experts of the district resource group.
    • The radio streams educational content for nine hours every day in which one hour of live programme and two hours of pre-recorded sessions, covering a lesson daily.
      • The same programmes are repeated in the afternoon and evening to ensure that all the community members get the benefit of the programme.
    • All programmes are designed in Odia and Desiya dialects as entire tribes and non-tribes do use Desiya as a common communication dialect.
    • 82 listeners clubs have been set-up in the areas for smooth access of the programme.
    • The channel also has shows to create awareness on Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and vaccination programmes in collaboration with the Koraput administration.
    • Most of the beneficiaries are the children of Paraj (also called Paroja/Parja/Paraja) , one of the tribal communities in the state.

    Impact of Covid-19 on Education

    • A sizable number of children will be deprived of formal education and will remain outside the ambit of education.
    • Students lack laptops, tablets or personal mobiles along with the poor or no net connectivity, concerns of distraction on the phones.
    • Due to the lack of physical classroom teaching, a feeling of isolation is developing in the minds of students.
    • The trauma of the second wave will put a deep imprint on the student’s mind, leading to an irreconcilable contradiction and ordinary family members will not be in a position to address the issue.
    • Educational institutes and teachers also face technical constraints and a majority of them are not able to use them with ease.
    • Parents face difficulty in adjusting to the whole online system, amid the added household responsibilities.
    • A lot of subjects need practical and physical teaching including beauty culture, fashion design and tailoring, office management, travel and tourism, web design etc., so it is difficult to teach them online.

    Suggestions

    • Quality Online Education
      • The focus should be on imparting quality education to young minds and the whole teaching community should be prepared to face the challenges, mechanically as well as emotionally.
      • It should visualise and set a goal to develop the logical framework and reasoning capability in the young minds in stages.
    • Physical Schooling
      • The centre of attraction should remain the physical school for students and school education. For that, the whole infrastructure should be fully utilised, and if necessary, many more facilities should be invested in or created to impart education.
    • New Content Generation
      • New content generation for each subject is needed to overcome the absence of classroom teaching within the framework of the existing syllabus.
      • This content could be of a new type, self-explanatory and has to be attractive considering the lowest IQ of the class and should produce the same effect on the minds of the students that the best book imparts on the thinking faculty.
      • The education board and the government will have to channelise the work to advance the cause of education.
    • Evaluation System
      • The evaluation should be based on the capacity of analysis, and the questions should be framed in such a way that students need to apply their minds to answer the questions on each subject.
      • Such questions will play a big role in advancing the logical reasoning process in the student’s mind.
    • Vaccine Coverage
      • The government should take the responsibility to vaccinate the whole teaching community as fast as possible to advance the learning process.

    Initiatives to Boost Education Sector

    • PM e-VIDYA: Launched to enable multi-mode access to education.
    • DIKSHA Platform: ‘One nation-one digital platform’ for providing quality e-content in school education.
    • One class-One Channel: Dedicated TV channel per grade for each of the classes 1 to 12.
    • E-PG Pathshala: An initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development to provide e-content for studies.
    • NEAT: Aims to use Artificial Intelligence to make learning more personalised and customised as per the requirements of the learner
    • SWAYAM: Integrated platform for online courses for school and higher education.
    • IITPAL: For the preparation of IITJEE/NEET.
    • PRAGYATA: Under it, only 30 minutes of screen time per day for interacting with parents is recommended for kindergarten, nursery and pre-school.
    • Digitally Accessible Information System: Study material for the differently-abled persons with sign language.
    • Manodarpan Initiative: Provides support related to mental health and emotional wellbeing through a website, a toll-free helpline and chat.
    • New National Curriculum and Pedagogical Framework: It is rooted in the Indian ethos and integrated with global skill requirements.
    • National Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission: Ensures that every child in the country necessarily attains foundational literacy and numeracy in Grade 3 by 2020.
    • Other Initiatives: National Project on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), National Knowledge Network, (NKN) and National Academic Depository (NAD), etc.

     

    Paraj Tribe

    • Distribution
      • It is one of the well-known major Scheduled Tribes (ST) of Odisha, which has the largest concentration of this tribe.
        • According to the 2011 Census, its population in the state was 3,74,628, with more concentration in undivided Koraput district.
        • This tribe has maintained a healthy sex ratio of 1000 males to 1080 females.
        • The overall literacy percentage of the tribe is 34.92 per cent with 46.44 per cent of males and 24.44 per cent of females of this tribe are literate.
      • They are also found in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Assam.
    • Nomenclature
      • Paraj is a local Odia and Desia term, which appears to have been derived from the Sanskrit wordPraja’ which literally means the common people, who are citizens under King or Raja.
      • The term ‘Paraja’ also has another meaning in Odia denoting the tenant or the Royat.
    • Society
      • They live in big and small settlements in the company of other communities, in the plains, on foot hills and nearby forests in close proximity to hill streams.
      • Family is the smallest unit in their society and is patrilineal and patriarchal
      • Marriage within the clan is prohibited and monogamy is the rule, although in the exceptional cases polygamy is practiced.
      • Each Paraja village has two separate dormitories, known as ‘dhangda basa’ for boys and ‘dhangdi basa’ for girls, where grown up unmarried boys and girls meet to know each other.
        • These dormitories help in creating an intimacy between the boys and girls to select their life partners and act as the centers of socio-cultural activities of the Paraja society.
    • Economy
      • The economy of Paraja tribes are primarily agro and forest based.
      • Their lands are not so fertile, mostly unirrigated and are of low productivity, so they are marginal & small farmers.
      • They adopt primitive methods of cultivation like both wet cultivation and shifting cultivation.
    • Culture
      • Attire: The traditional dress consists of loin cloth and napkins for men and coarse and cheap sarees for women. However, they have started using modern dresses because of external contact.
      • Festivals: Paraja observe many seasonal festivals. Important ones are Asadha Parab, Nuakhia, Diali Parab, Push Parab, Chaita Parab, etc.
      • Music and Dance
        • The male members use the musical instruments like dhola, tamaka, dungdunga and mahuri.
        • Dhemsa dance, Khadumara dance, Dungdunga dance are some of the popular dances of the tribe.
        • Their dance, music and songs are highly inspired by elements of nature like the Sun, the Moon, the sky, the wind, the rain and the trees, streams, flowers, birds and animals etc.
    • Important Places in Villages
      • Berna Munda is the place comprising stone slabs where the village headman and leaders sit at dawn to discuss village affairs.
      • Nissani Munda is the seat of the village deity called ‘Hundi Debta’.
    • Traditional Village Functionaries
      • Jani is the sacred head and the custodian of the religions and moral life of the village community.
      • Muduli is the secular head of the village who is assisted by Challan
      • Besides these, Disari, Gurumai, Gunia and Bhatta Nayak are the important functionaries.

    (Image Courtesy: KBK)

    Source: DTE