The introduction of Marathi from class 1 will be a difficult proposition for students joining school mid-term in Classes between 1 and 8, feel experts.
Each CBSE, ISCE school gets about 400 students on an average who join the school mid-term — most of them come from other states to Mumbai.
This means over a lakh students join 297 central board schools mid-term in the state.
“From Classes 1 to 8, hundreds of students leave or join. Students who join in Class 3 for instance (mid-term students), will have missed out on the initial learning of the language and will find it very hard to cope,” said Avnita Bir, principal, RN Podar School (CBSE).
The Indian Secondary Certificate Examination (ICSE) chief executive, Gerry Arathoon, said that a student would have the choice of opting for Marathi as the second or third language.
“While a Maharashtrian student could opt for it as second language, a student coming from outside the state can keep it as the third language. Some years ago, the Karnataka government tried to make Kannada compulsory. But the high court struck down the decision,” he added.
The CBSE board secretary Vineet Joshi said they would implement the mandatory-Marathi rule from this year.
Arathoon said the Board was comfortable with the state’s decision so long as Marathi wasn’t made compulsory at the Board level, a sentiment echoed by even the international boards, International Baccalaureate (IB).
“IB schools in Maharashtra should not have any problems in complying with state requirements within the framework of the IB Primary Years Programme,” said Nigel Forbes-Harper, Head Of Programmes, IB Asia Pacific Regional Office, responding to a query from Hindustan Times.
International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), schools said they would comply with the diktat.
“It gives the child a sense of place when he is growing up to learn the regional language. We already teach Marathi at level A. I don’t think it should be a problem accommodating it,” said Ian Chambers, Regional Manager, South Asia, IGCSE, told Hindustan Times.