School Workbook Design

A workbook design for schools to learn writing Tibetan Umed script effectively

My roles: Research, content, illustration, design.
Mentor:   Tarun Deep Girdher

In every culture, the languages and their scripts play an important role in making them distinct and unique. In the same way, Bodhi script (Tibetan script) is one of the major elements of the rich and unique Ladakhi culture. Bodhi script is also used across Tibet, China, Butan, Nepal, Mongolia and many parts of India.

images

During the 7th century AD Songstem Gampo, the 33rd king of the Yarlung Dynasty of Tibet sent one of his ministers, Thonmi Sambhota to India to study Buddhism. Thonmi Sambhota come up with a Tibetan script based on the Devanagri model and also wrote the grammar of the Tibetan language.
The Bodhi script gave a new image to the Tibetan Buddhism as well as to understand the religion and grow across the Himalayan regions including Ladakh. For centuries, Bodhi script was an important element of traditional Ladakhi education. In monasteries and non-monastic institutions, the students had to learn from basic script to its calligraphic form for 10 to 15 years to master in it.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Understanding the Tibetan scripts

Tibetan Buddhism has variety of different scripts, but the two major scripts are U-chen and U-med. U-chen is one of the most commonly seen in the traditional Buddhism as it has been used for centuries to print religious books and now it is used for books, newspapers and other media. Although it is not the first script learned by Tibetan school children. The hand-written cursive form used in everyday writing and also taught in school initially is U-med script.
Tibetan script is traditionally taught first by knowing to read the script with reference to a chart containing eight rows and four columns of characters or letters, each of which is a consonant. The last row only has two characters. So, it makes a total of thirty consonants. It is read left to right as in English and Devanagar

images_3

images_2

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Schools in Ladakh

Earlier Education in Ladakh was mainly based on the education given by the monasteries. There were few schools in the region but today Ladakh is growing in a very rapid flow. Even the numbers of school are increasing year after year as per need. Today every village in Ladakh has a school at least and the education quality is improving.
Today the schools of Ladakh teach Tibetan, Hindi, English and Urdu languages. Education system and method of teaching is changed as modern education system. New subjects are introduced and medium is changed to English in most of the schools.
While education system is changing, new books and methods are introduced every year for better education in the region and at the same time Ladakhi’s own Language is neglected and remain undeveloped. Schools in Ladakh are using the same old book since from late 80’s. But Teaching Tibetan script in school of Ladakh starts very early. At the at of 4-5 in LKG children start learning the language along with English and Hindi Language.

1

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Textbooks

The schools of Ladakh have not yet develop up to the mark as it should be in the education of Tibetan language. Stationary and time duration in the schools is a limitation as compare to the old traditional schools. Its become quite difficult for the kids to grasp the complex script of Tibetan language in such a short period of time as the textbooks are design in a old teaching style which need much more time duration. The books are also out dated, which are more then 20 year old edition. There is no proper workbook to practice writing skill yet in the schools of Ladakh.

5DSC_04861

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Structure of Tibetan script

To attend the proper Proportion of the Tibetan letters, the width of the flat nib pen is use for measurement. The letter can be divided into three parts, upper, middle and lower part. Most part of a letter comes under the middle part and also lower part for some letters. Lower part also contains Subscribed and vowel. Upper part contain vowels mostly. All the Tibetan scripts are align from the top but Vowels are added on and under the letters.

8

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Writing technique

The pen is held between the thumb and index fingers so that, as you write, the pen can be rotated to obtain the proper thick and thin strokes. The other fingers are drawn up into a fist, though some people extend the little finger to form a surface for the hand to rest on and provide greater stability. Horizontal strokes are written from left to right and vertical strokes from top down.

11

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Strokes

To understand the structure of a letter, it is important to understand the strokes within it. Each and every letter is a combination of two or more then two strokes.
Tibetan scripts are constructed with strokes. Some of the strokes are common in almost all the letters. They are easy to draw, if the one hold the pen in proper angle. But there are some complex strokes, to draw them one has to twist their pen while drawing. To construct each and every letter, there is a stepwise construction of the strokes. Most of the letter starts with a similar top horizontal stroke.

10

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Analysis

After analysis on the research and the data I had collected on the Tibetan script, its teaching methods and their impact. I came to a conclusion that from last 20 to 30 years Tibetan scripts are gradually losing their presence in the culture of Ladakh.

  1. The new education system in Ladakh, which adds other languages and subjects, which divides the time into limited periods. Lack of practice affects the quality of learning in the students.
  2. Sudden shift of tools form reed pen to normal pencils has totally changed the style of the script. Textbooks and teachers are still following the old style of teaching and learning methods but students have to follow the new methods of writing with normal pencil.
  3. Monastic institutions are decreasing year by year due to the lack of funds and students, due to which traditional ways of learning Tibetan script is fading out.
  4. Textbooks and tools are hard to get in remote place and if it’s accessible there, high price is a major problem.
  5. Due to the lack of proper textbook there is no proper pattern or rules for writing Tibetan scripts, which ends up with incomplete learning.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Simplifying the tools

Earlier each and every tools they use were easily available. But now a days traditional methods are vanished from the schools of Ladakh. Pencils, pen and paper replaces with traditional methods. Student practice with pencil initially and later on continue with normal pen. The challenge is to maintain the same calligraphic effect in the script with the easily available and cheapest tool to write (normal pencil).
After joining two pencils it’s become very easy to get all the calligraphic effects in the Tibetan scripts.

Bodhi_Script_workbook_documentation

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Simplification of the script

Again for the pre-primary school level, it is quite difficult task to understand the thick and thin strokes of a letter at this initial stage and even to handle the flat cut nib. I think it’s more important to understand the basic form of a letter than its thickness and thinness for a beginner.
To understand the basic structure of a letter, strokes should be uniform so that the kids can understand and write the letter easily with their pencils.

construction

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Construction of the letters

To draw or construct a proper letter it is necessary to understand the steps of strokes in its hierarchy to construct a letter. Tibetan scripts are complex in writing, so it becomes very important to maintain the proper process of constructing a letter. Every letter consists of about two to seven strokes to construct in its proper shape and hierarchy of the strokes plays an important role in obtaining the letter correctly.

construction_letters

Book Size and Paper

While deciding the size and paper for this book, it is very important for me to understand the users and purpose of the book. The users of this book are going to be the Ladakhi children and their families, who can’t afford an expensive books. So, it is also workbook 3important to design the book as cheap as possible and at the same time it should be durable so that it would last long in children hand.
The suitable paper I found is 23X36 inches Sunshine Uncoated paper, which is perfect to get my book size (8.5X11 inches) 16 pages front and back without wasting much. The cover of the book will be thick so that it will last long and protect the book.
Art card Uncoated 300 gsm will be a better option for the book cover.
About the book size, its should be vertical and quite spacious so that it will be easy to handle by kids and provide enough space to practice the letter fully and also keeping the minimal wastage of paper.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Final Workbook

workbook pic 1

workbook pic 2

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Costing

Job     : Workbook of Tibetan script (U–med) for Ladakhi schools.
Quantity     : 5000 copies
Size     : Closed size 8.5 x 11 inches. Open size : 11 x 17 inches.
No. of pages     : 54 pages
Paper     : 100 gsm, Uncoated sunshine paper
Binding     : Central staple
Cover     : 300 gsm Uncoated Art card paper
Printing     : Inside pages (Single colour offset)
    : Cover  (Single colour offset)

Paper cost

Inside paper :
    4 sheets for 1 book
    Therefore,  5,000 x 4 = 20,000 sheets or 40 reams
    Uncoated Sunshine paper (100 gsm) 23” x 36”  is Rs. 1,431/- per 500 sheets
    So, total reams, 40 +1 extra = 41 reams
    Total paper cost, 1,431 x 41 = Rs. 58,671/-
Cover :
    4 covers in 1 sheet
    Therefore total sheets, 5000 / 4 = 1250 sheets or 10 reams
    Uncoated Art Card paper (300 gsm) 23” x 36 “ is Rs. 1390/- per 150 sheets
    So, total reams, 1o+1 extra = 11 reams
    Total paper cost, 1390 x 11 = Rs. 15,290/-
Total paper cost :
    58,671 + 15,290 =Rs. 73,961

Printing cost
Inside pages :
    Single colour offset
    Rs. 1800/- per colour
    So, 1800 x 8 plates = Rs. 14,400/-
Cover :
    Single colour offset
    Rs. 1,800
    Total printing cost,
    14,400 + 1,800 = Rs. 16,200/-

Fabrication cost
    Fabrication : Creasing + Gathering + Binding (centre staple)
    Rs. 2/- per copy
    Total fabrication cost, 5000 x 2 = Rs. 10,000/-
Total cost
    Paper cost + Printing cost + Fabrication cost
    73,961 + 16,200 + 10000 = 100161
    100161/5000 = 20.0322
    5% VAT  = Rs. 1
    Cost of 1 book = Rs. 21

Advertisements

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s