Bhubaneswar, Feb 7: The Odisha government unveiled several initiatives on Wednesday aimed at promoting the Odia language and literature both nationally and internationally.
Odia Language Literature and Culture Minister, Aswini Patra, said these initiatives mark a pivotal moment in the ongoing efforts to safeguard and promote Odia language and culture.
The establishment of a substantial corpus of Rs 10 crore to support research in Odia language at both national and international levels. This grant, to be housed in the prestigious Odia University at Satyabadi, underscores the government's commitment to fostering academic inquiry and scholarly pursuits in the realm of Odia language and literature.
The decision to allocate this corpus was informed by deliberations held during the World Odia Language Conference and consultations with the global Odia diaspora, highlighting a collaborative approach to language preservation and promotion.
Furthermore, the government has announced the annual convening of an International Digital Odia Conference, aimed at bringing together experts from around the world to explore and promote the Odia language in the digital sphere. This platform will serve as a catalyst for innovation and collaboration in leveraging technology to enhance the reach and impact of Odia language and literature.
In a bid to standardize the usage of Odia script across digital platforms, an expert committee will be formed to oversee the standardization of keyboard layouts and fonts. This committee, operating within a fixed timeframe, will put forth recommendations for implementation, ensuring uniformity and accessibility in digital communication.
Recognizing the pivotal role of educators in nurturing linguistic heritage, the government has announced plans to deploy exclusive Odia teachers in 1500 high schools initially, with a commitment to extend this coverage to all high schools in a time-bound manner. Additionally, a syllabus revision committee will be constituted to regularly update teaching materials, ensuring relevance and dynamism in Odia language education.
To safeguard and promote Odia heritage in education, the government will provide heritage grants to schools, colleges, and universities with historical significance. This initiative seeks to preserve and celebrate institutions that have contributed to the rich tapestry of Odia education and culture.
Moreover, the government will introduce a translation policy aimed at facilitating the translation of Odia literary works into other Indian languages and foreign languages, thereby enhancing their accessibility and reach. This initiative will foster cross-cultural exchange and promote greater appreciation for Odia literature on a global scale.
In addition to these measures, the government will undertake specific initiatives to promote Odia language among the next generation, including the identification and recognition of budding talents, expansion of scholarships, and the institution of a Chief Minister's Cup for debating in Odia among students.
Furthermore, a public library movement will be launched across the state to promote a culture of reading among youth, with support extended to Odia associations for the establishment of libraries both within India and abroad. Volunteerism will also be encouraged to foster grassroots engagement in promoting the Odia language and culture.
The expansion of the Printing Museum in Cuttack and the development of the Odisha Institute of Maritime and South East Asian studies into a Center of Excellence underscore the government's commitment to preserving and showcasing Odia heritage across various domains.
Efforts to set up Odia chairs in universities across India and abroad, along with the publication of an international journal of Odia studies, will further enhance the visibility and academic rigor of Odia language and literature.
Lastly, the development of an Odia Learning Management System will enable Odias living outside Odisha to learn the language up to class eight online, fostering greater connectivity and accessibility to Odia language education.