Gujarat House passes bill to make Gujarati compulsory in primary schools
The schools that are not teaching Gujarati will have to introduce it as an additional language for Classes 1 to 8 in phases in the 2023-24 academic year
The Gujarat assembly has unanimously passed a bill to make Gujarati compulsory in all primary schools.
The Gujarat Compulsory Teaching and Learning of Gujarati Language Bill provides for the cancellation of registration of schools violating its provisions.
The schools that are not teaching Gujarati will have to introduce it as an additional language for Classes 1 to 8 in phases in the 2023-24 academic year.
Education minister Kuberbhai Dindor said every school shall follow textbooks government prescribes for teaching Gujarati as an additional language. “The state government will appoint a deputy director-level officer to implement the provisions of this bill,” said Dindor after the passage of the bill on Tuesday.
If a school is found violating the bill’s provisions for the first time, it will be liable to pay ₹50,000. The penalty will be ₹1 lakh and ₹2 lakh for subsequent violations.
Opposition Congress supported the bill but said the Bharatiya Janata Party government moved the bill only after a plea was filed in the high court.
Congress lawmaker Amit Chavda urged the state government to introduce Gujarati as a compulsory subject at the secondary and higher secondary levels too.
Manish Doshi, the state Congress spokesperson, welcomed the bill and said Maharashtra and southern states have similar rules. “The importance of the mother tongue has been growing year after year. I hope the Gujarat government implements the bill and it does not remain merely on paper.”
Doshi said teachers need to be recruited for Gujarati across schools. “The government should also encourage Gujarati via literature, theatre, and movies.”
Manan Chowksi, the director of four Central Board of Secondary Education-affiliated schools in Ahmedabad, called the passage of the bill a good move. “Earlier, there was a choice for students to choose Gujarati as a subject in central board-affiliated schools. In our schools, Gujarati was taught as a compulsory subject from Class 1 to 5. Now we will have to extend till Class 8.”