New Education policy lays emphasis on learning in mother tongue
The New Education Policy approved by the Centre on Wednesday puts a focus on students’ mother tongue as the medium of instruction even as it sticks to the ‘three language formula’ while emphasizing that no language would be imposed on anyone.
The policy document states that since children learn and grasp non-trivial concepts more quickly in their home language, which is often the mother tongue, it should preferably be the medium of instruction.
“Wherever possible, the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond, will be the home language, mother tongue, local language or the regional language. Thereafter, the home or local language shall continue to be taught as a language wherever possible. This will be followed by both public and private schools,” the policy states.
This, however, led to a question on the existence of thousands of English-medium schools that across the country. Many of these impart high-quality education and are leading institutions in their particular regions. When contacted, a senior HRD ministry official said the policy does not aim to impose any language at anyone.
“Even with regard to instruction in mother tongue, the policy document emphasizes - wherever possible. There is no question of imposing anything. Moreover, it is for the state governments to take decisions in this regard according to requirements of the students,” the official said, asking not to be named.
Language is a sensitive area as far as the education policy is concerned. Previously, the draft policy submitted by the panel headed by former ISRO chief K Kasturirangan to the HRD ministry suggested a bigger focus on Hindi as a teaching medium, a suggestion that triggered a controversy with criticism pouring in from southern states.
There were apprehensions, especially in non-Hindi speaking states that the three language formula propagated in the policy would lead to Hindi being forced upon non-speakers.
The HRD ministry had then doused the anger emphasizing that no language would be thrust upon anyone.
The policy recommends high-quality textbooks, including in science, to be made available in home languages and mother tongue. Teachers will be encouraged to use a bilingual approach, including bilingual teaching-learning materials, with those students whose home language may be different from the mother tongue.
According to the policy, states, especially states from different regions of India, may enter into bilateral agreements to hire teachers in large numbers from each other, to satisfy the three-language formula in their respective states, and also to encourage the study of Indian languages across the country.
“The three-language formula will continue to be implemented while keeping in mind the Constitutional provisions, aspirations of the people, regions, and the Union, and the need to promote multilingualism as well as promote national unity.However, there will be a greater flexibility in the three-language formula, and no language will be imposed on any State. The three languages learned by children will be the choices of States, regions, and of course the students themselves, so long as at least two of the three languages are native to India,” the policy states.
The policy document also lays emphasis on Sanskrit, which it calls an important modern language mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India. Sanskrit will thus be offered at all levels of school and higher education as an important enriching option for students, including as an option in the three-language formula, it added.
The new education roadmap also provides for teaching other classical including classical Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Odia. In addition to these classical languages Pali, Persian, and Prakrit; and their works of literature too must be preserved for their richness and for the pleasure and enrichment of posterity, the document states.