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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
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, Andhra Pradesh(SSA/RGM) PR (Grade 1 -5) FE (Govt) PUB Adivasi Oriya (ort), Lambadi (lmn), Gondi (gon), Northwestern Kolami (kfb), Konda-Dora (kfc), Koya (kff), Kuvi (kxv), Sora (srb) 220 - pilot schools; 2,500 - current number of MLE schools Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Vishakhapatnam, Khammam, Warangal, Adilabad, Kurnool and Nellore 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 I,II, III and IV, alphabet books and storybooks have been prepared for the 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
Orissa Primary Education Programme Authority (OPEPA) PR FE (Govt) PUB Sora (srb), Juang (jun), Munda (unx), Santali (sat), Bondo (bfw), Koya (kff), Santali (sat), Kuvi (kxv), Kui (kxu), Oram 450 Schools ►Saora 30 schools (20 gajapati+10 Gunupur) ► Munda 20 schools(10Sundargarh+10 Mayurbhanj) ► Santal 20 schools (Mayurbhanj) ► Koya 20 schools (Malkangiri) ► Bonda 5 schools (Khairput 5 schools in Malkangiri) ► Juang 10 schoolsBanslap andHCPur in Keonjhar) ► Oroam 20 schools(Sundargarh) ► Kishan 20 schools (Sambalpur) ► Kui 20 schools (Kondhmal) ► Kuvi 20 schools (Rayagada) i. Alphabet charts and books ii. Number charts and books iii. Theme based Big and small books iv. Textbooks for class I to class III in tribal languages v. Picture Dictionaries from Mother tongue to Oriya (for both students and teachers) vi. Grammar books and dictionaries have also been developed by Tribal Welfare Department vii. Teacher training manuals
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) FE (Govt) PUB Koya (kff), Bhatri (bgw), Halbi (hlb) Chhattisgarh
Asha Kiran Society PR NFE/ NGO PUB Desiya (dso), Bodo Gadaba (gbj), Pottangi Ollar Gadaba (gdb), Bondo (bfw), Oriya (ori), English (eng) over 180 children 17 villages in most Panchayats of Lamptaput block in Koraput Koraput in Orissa Math games, Big book reading, creative writing, singing, dancing, etc.
Adivasi Sahitya Sabha in collaboration with PAJHRA PP NFE/ NGO Sadri (sck) over 90 children are enrolled 2 schools in Lakhimpur District and 1 in Sontipur District of Assam Primer, Alphabet Book, Teacher's guide for the pre-reading programme and a variety of booklets, songs and rhymes for the sory track component
ULLASH (supported by the Bernard Van Leer Foundation and implemented by the state government and NGOs - PREM, CYSD, CLAP) PP NFE/ NGO Sora (srb), Munda (unx), Kui (kxu) 6471 children attended in CBCD centre in the academic year 2009 to 2010 Cuttack, Ganjam, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Korapput, Rayagada, and Sundargarh
The Good Samaritan PR NGO Koya (kff), Halbi (hlb) 3 primary schools Bastar district in Chhattisgarh The transitioning is into English and at a later stage Hindi. Throughout the school a simplified Devanagari script is used called Barati
Adharshila Learning Centre PR NGO Bhili (bhb) F: 32 & M: 108 = 140 Sendhwa Tahsil Badwani District, Burhanpur District, Madhya Pradesh District Teach in Bhili and then transition gradually into Hindi Easy reading materials, stories, a primer for the first standard, teaching aids, an alphabet song and many projects, etc.
NLCI PR NGO Rathwi Bareli (bgd) Madhya Pradesh Lower Kindergarten materials have been developed and more curriculum materials are in the making process.
Pallikoodam High School PP FE PRI Malayalam (mal) Kottayam in Kerala 2 (The LoI in the Nursery Class, Std. I - III is in Malayalam though children are introduced to oral English through music and drama.)
Amri Karbi Literature Society NGO Amri Krbi (ajz) 262 students The school materials are limited. An Alphabet Book (SRC 2006), story book and word building text book for children and teacher's guide book published in 2011 by SIL
Rabha Literacy Mission Meghalaya Rabha (rah) 4 pilot classes Kankarpara and Photamati of East Garohills, Meghalaya, Gojapara, Goalpara, Assam Primer, Teacher's guide, Story Book n both small and big forms and cultural calendar
Bodo, Nijwm Community Development Society (NCDS) Pilot Project Bodo (brx) 310 children Chiknajhar Bathou Ashram Phoraisali, Bishmuri (Kokrajhar district) and U.N. Academy, Kalaigaon (Udalguri district) MLE method has been introduced only in the lower classes up to class 3. The manuscripts are being edited and will be published soon. Other materials available are: Big Books, Cultural Calendar, Alphabet Charts. The schools have to depend on Govt. textbooks which are available and used from Class 1 onwards.
Singpho Multi Lingual Education Committee PP NGO Singpho (sgp) 20-25 children Tinsukia District of Assam
Nagaland PR 17 mother tongues, English (eng) English as the official language
Government schools FE (Govt) PUB Assamese (asm), Bodo (brx), Bengali (ben), Garo (grt), Nepali (nep), Meitei (mni), Hmar (hmr), Hindi (hin), English (eng), Karbi Assam Supplementary materials in Thai, Birmese, Rabha, Devri, Mising
Mitra PR (Grade 1-5) NFE/ NGO Kuvi (kxv) and using Oriya script 31 children per class Orissa Education begins in the Kuvi language with a gradual introduction of Oriya. English and spoken Hindi are brought in at different points. Kuvi cultural activities are very much part of the curriculum. However all books used are in Oriya language.


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.