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Year Conducted: 2015, 2012


There is a wide variety of statements on the number of languages spoken in India. The 1961 census lists 1,652 languages, while the 1991 census lists only 114. The Ethnologue lists about 452. Hindi and English are the national or official languages. There are 22 official ‘scheduled’ languages, namely: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Marathi, Meitei, Nepali, Oriya, Eastern Panjabi, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu. Education normally takes place in the state languages while more and more schools switch to English. In some exceptional cases a local language is used as a medium of instruction. It is considered prestigious to have English as the medium of instruction. Political discussions are therefore focused on the choice between major Indian languages and English rather than on use of the mother tongue. MLE Mapping exercise identified nine (9) projects using twenty-three (23) non-dominant languages (NDLs) in classrooms. These projects provide multilingual education in both formal and non-formal systems of education for pre-primary and primary children. It is likely that this information does not fully reflect the use of NDLs in India.

Quick Facts
Name of Organization/ Institution Level of Schooling Formal or Non-formal Public or Private Which Languages Number of Children reached by level of schooling Location Use of language in classroom (see explanations below) Materials in classroom
BEGAP - initiator / lead actor / funder and implementer PP & PR NFE PRI (parents pay normal fee) Toto (txo), Nepali(npi), Bengali (ben), English (eng) PR F:20 + M: 28 = 48 Aklipudaur, West Bengal 1,6 In development
Adivasi Sahiyta Sabha Assam PP NFE PRI Sadri (sck) 200 Lakhimpur and Sonitpur District, Assam 1 L1 pre reading, L1 Primer, L2 Primer, 70 L1 textbooks, L1 Alphabet book, 35 L1 Mathematics books, L2 TPR guide
Amri Karbi Literature Society PP NFE PRI Amri Karbi (ajz) 100 Kamrup District Assam 2 L1 Alphabet Book, L1 Text books, L1 Pre-reading, L1 Primer, L1 Mathematics
Rabha Literacy Mission Assam PP NFE PRI Rabha (rah) 200 Goalpara District, Assam and East Garo Hills Meghalaya 2 L1 Textbooks, L1 Pre-reading, L1 Primer
Nijwm Community Development Society PR FE PRI Bodo (brx) 400 Kokrajhar District, Udalguri District and Kamrup District Assam 2 L1 Textbooks, L1 Alphabet Book, L1 Government textbooks
Singpho Multilingual Education Committee PP NFE PRI Singpho (sgp) 50 Tinsukia District Assam 2 L1 Textbooks, L1 Pre-reading, L1 Primer
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SAA) Telangana PR (Grade 1-5) FE PUB Lamgadi (lmn) F: 3610 + M: 3743 = 7353 Khammam, Warangal, Adilabad L2 (Telugu) is introduced gradually from grade 2, orally first then written. Reading material prepared for students includes: Textbooks in tribal languages (Telugu script) for Math and EVS for classes 1,2,3 and 4, alphabet books and storybooks have been prepared for students. As a part of 'teacher support initiative' - Big book and small books, dictionaries in all eight tribal languages, glossaries, teacher handbooks, MLE manuals, training modules; and Teaching learning materials (TLM) like worksheets, flash cards, educational games, word banks and extended curriculum construction through themes / theme webs have also been developed.
Gondi (gon) F: 1665 + M: 1503 = 3168
Kolami, North-western (nit) 28,172
Koya (kff) 9,289
Andhra Pradesh Oriya, Adivasi (ort) 7,375 Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Vishakhapatnam, West Godavari
Konda (kfc) 3,098
Kuvi (kxv) 6,855
Koya (kff) F: 1,623 + M: 1,376 = 2,999
Savara (svr) F: 1,538 + M: 1,543 = 3081
The Good Samaritan PR FE PRI Koya (kff) or Harbi (hlb), Hindi (hin), English (eng) F: 99 + M: 60 = 159 Vil. Bhelwabhata, Taluk: Jagdalpur Dist. Bastar State: Chhattisgarh LKG, UKG: 2
Classes 1,2,3: 1 (L1 is taught as subject)
Classes 4,5: 3 (L2&L3) (L1 is taught as subject)
L1 as subject has a textbook for language learning. Additionally a separate book for a course using an L1 tect which covers the same concepts being presented in English, provides a strong support for students trying to understand concepts presented in L2)
LKG: oral
UKG: oral&written(MT)
Class1-3: L1 text, L2 text&subjects
Class4: L1 text, L2 text&subjects, L3 text
Class5: as above
Concept support material in L1 contains some lessons from all subjects.
Halbi (hlb), Hindi (hin), English (eng) PR: F: 43 + M: 26 =69
Halbi (hlb), Hindi (hin), English (eng) PR: F: 52 + M: 48 = 100


Name of organisation / institution: 

Give the name of the organisation(s) (NGO, local association, etc) or institution (church, pagoda, temple, university etc.) which is initiating and supporting the action. This can include government agencies and institutions. Please specify type of involvement, e.g. initiator, lead actor, funder and implementer.

Level of schooling:

Identify whether action is at the pre-primary level (PP) or at the primary /elementary level (PR). The mapping is focusing only on these two levels of education.

Formal or Non-formal:

Identify whether action is:

1. in the formal (FE) or non-formal (NFE); and
2. in the government education system (Govt) or outside the government system by non-state providers (NSP).

Public or private:

Identify whether the action is happening in the public education (PUB) system or private (PRI). If this does not apply to your country, write n/a.

Which language:

Give the name of the local or minority language(s) which the action includes. If possible, see your country’s section on the ( and find the relevant 3-letter ISO language code for these languages.

Number of children:

Give the number of children reached by school level (pre-primary and primary/elementary). Please disaggregate by gender (i.e. M: and F:),

Location of action:

Give sub-national location of action(s) either province or district

Use of language in classroom:

Identify how language is used in the classroom by using the descriptors below. Choose the most appropriate one. You can choose more than one.

1. Language of instruction (LOI) is the learners’ mother tongue (MT or L1)  and their second language (L2) .
2. Language of instruction is the mother tongue only.
3. The second language is officially the language of instruction.
4. Language of instruction is the second language with MT as subject.
5. Mother tongue is used orally, no written materials – officially.
6. Mother tongue is used orally, no written materials – unofficially.
7. Second language (L2) is taught as second language.

Materials in classroom:

Are there teaching and learning materials in MT in classroom? Yes or no. If yes, estimate the number of titles in MT.