The Maharashtra government on Tuesday warned central board schools — ICSE and CBSE — as well as private board schools — IGCSE and IB — that action would be taken if they don’t implement its order that Marathi must be taught in Classes 1 to 4.
“All schools in the state have to follow the policy. In case any school does not follow it, we will withdraw its registration and take back the no-objection certificate,” state School Education Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said on Tuesday.
“It will be applicable for all schools functioning under all boards in the state. There is no question of any school not following it,” reiterated state education secretary Sanjay Kumar.
As reported by the Hindustan Times, the education department issued a government resolution on Monday making it mandatory for all schools – state-aided and private – to teach Marathi. The order will be implemented over four years, starting with Class 1 this academic year (2009-2010).
“States like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh already make it compulsory to learn the local language from the lowest grades, so Maharashtra is not an exception,” said Vikhe-Patil.
The move has evoked mixed reactions. Vandana Lulla, director, Podar International School in Santacruz, which follows the IB syllabus, said: “It is necessary for students to learn the local language for better understanding of the environment, so we will surely implement it.” Lulla pointed out that students from other states could have a problem picking up a new language. “But if it is introduced progressively from lower grades, it should not be a problem.”
Deepshika Srivastava, principal of Rajhans Vidhyalaya, a CBSE school in Andheri, has some reservations. “In CBSE schools we get students from across the country and they keep moving because of their parents’ professions. Since they spend little time in these schools, spending a year learning Marathi might be very time-consuming,” she explained. “Initially we had given the children the option of Marathi but we had hardly any takers.”
(With inputs from Serena Menon)