Students should be taught in their mother tongues till class VIII, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has said in its inputs for the ambitious draft national education policy of the BJP-led government.
The suggestion by the government’s think thank on school education is among several inputs received by the government from MPs, NGOs, minority organisations, states and individuals for the policy, aimed at ushering changes in the structure of education in the country from primary to higher.
Consultations on policy started during the tenure of the previous human resource development (HRD) minister Smriti Irani. However, it courted controversy after some of the suggestions were found to be regressive by educationists.
HRD minister Prakash Javadekar restarted discussion on the policy by inviting suggestions from various political parties and educationists.
Many suggestions have been made by parliamentarians who have sent their ideas to the HRD ministry ahead of their workshop on this issue on November 10.
Cricket icon and Rajya Sabha MP Sachin Tendulkar has suggested that school syllabus should be modified to include an active sport being pursued by every student. Rajkumar Dhoot, MP (Rajya Sabha) has suggested that school shouldn’t start before 9.30am and the government should do away with pre-schooling so that children could enjoy their childhood.
The HRD ministry had set September 30 as the last date for giving suggestion on the proposed national education policy. It has put up on its website some of the recommendations made by the committee headed by former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian.
The ministry will conduct the workshop for all parliamentarians where a number of suggestions that have been given will be discussed. The MPs will also get an opportunity to make more suggestions.
This is the final round of suggestions for a policy that has been in the works for over a year.
The National Policy on Education was framed in 1986 and modified in 1992. Since then several changes have taken place that calls for a revision of the policy.
A number of minority organisations have expressed concern that education could be communalised and Sanskrit and yoga could be made compulsory.
“All the suggestions and inputs that got have been compiled and will be studied by a committee which will be formed and is likely to be headed by an educationist,” said an HRD ministry source.
Rajya Sabha MP Prof Jogen Chowdhury has suggested that higher education should be provided only to those who are really talented and eligible, passionate and knowledgeable and creative. Krishan Pal Gurjar, minister of state for social justice and empowerment, has pitched for strengthening the no-detention policy by amending it in an upward manner from class 8 to class 10 rather than downward.
Another MP Badruddin Ajmal has suggested that yoga should be made optional and Muslim students should be allowed to opt for Arabic/Urdu in place of Sanskrit.