Indigenous languages in the secondary curriculum in Bangladesh: a study in Khagrachari District.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education
The purpose of this study is to provide a rich description of the role of languages, especially indigenous languages in the secondary curriculum in Bangladesh. Through this research I seek to identify the role of mother language in education. The role described from the perspectives of the Head Teacher/ Principal, Bangla language Teacher, Curriculum planner, Community leaders (from Chakma, Marma and Tripura community), and Tribal Students from the three tribal groups. Drawing on an understanding of curriculum as a tool for the social control of knowledge, I show how the secondary language curriculum promotes social inequality by the intellectual domination of Bangla and English over less prestigious tribal languages by not including indigenous languages, culture and values. This is particularly important for my position as a teacher educator in Bangladesh, and working along with school teachers. I used qualitative methods to interview tribal leaders, students and their teachers and analyse curriculum documents. My findings show that because the medium of instruction in schools is Bangla, it is difficult for tribal students to speak or understand Bangla language, as it is not the language used in their homes and communities. Tribal students are often unclear about school lessons, and the knowledge they acquire in schools cannot be related to their family and social life. Indigenous students do not involve themselves in classroom activities and quality education is not achieved for their life success. Findings reveal that the role of mother language is important in identity and learning for tribal students, and needs to be encouraged and valued both in policy and practice for the educational achievement of tribal language students to improve.