Slump in study of Kokborok language

Agartala, Aug. 24 : Resentment over stagnation in the study of indigenous Kokborok language and lack of opportunities for the study of the subject beyond primary school level, is growing among the indigenous communities. On June 28, 2009, the Tripura Central University had decided at a meeting of its academic council to introduce the study of Kokborok at the college level and informed the higher education department of the state government about the decision, but the state government has failed to create necessary infrastructure for introducing the course. This was communicated to the president of the Indigenous Women’s Federation (IWF), a frontal organisation of the regional Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT), by the vice-chancellor of Tripura Central University, Arunoday Saha. “A delegation of IWF headed by their president Patalkanya Debbarma met me yesterday. They raised the issue of Kokborok study at the college level and I informed them that on June 28, 2009, the university academic council had decided to introduce Kokborok study at college level as an elective subject. The assistant registrar of the university, M.K. Bhattacharya, had also informed the authorities of all the 17 degree colleges in the state and the higher education department of the decision including rules, regulations, syllabus and course structure but no follow-up action has so far been taken,” Saha said the university was keen to see study of Kokborok as an optional subject at the undergraduate level also. The alleged apathy of the state government in promoting the study of Kokborok language has created serious resentment among indigenous people. “We have taken up the issue again because of lack of progress on the issue and unless corrective measures are taken soon we will have to hit the streets with our demand,” said Debbarma, the president of IWF said. She said that there is only one school in Tripura — Ratanpur Higher Secondary School in Khowai subdivision where the medium of instruction is Kokborok from classes I to XII but in all other schools in areas dominated by indigenous people Kokborok is studied only up to Class V. “Since students have to compulsorily switch over to Bengali or English as medium of instruction from Class VI, many guardians do not want their wards to study Kokborok at school level at all because switch-over at a late stage creates lot of problems,” said Debbarma , adding that at the college-level Kokborok is not studied at all. “The Tripura Central University has introduced certificate course in Kokborok and we have requested the vice chancellor to upgrade the course as well as to increase the intake of students from 50 a year to 100,” said Patalkanya , adding that the VC has agreed to the demand.