Maharashtra plans to make Marathi mandatory in school curriculum
The state is studying laws enacted by Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka, and Kerala making it mandatory for schools affiliated to national boards in these states to teach local languages.Updated: Feb 11, 2020 04:55 IST
The Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government is planning to introduce a bill this month in the state assembly to make it mandatory for schools affiliated to national board like the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) to teach Marathi, officials aware of the matter said on Monday.
The state is studying laws enacted by Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka, and Kerala making it mandatory for schools affiliated to national boards in these states to teach local languages.
Maharashtra’s Marathi Language Department will introduce the bill on the first day of the state assembly’s budget session on February 24 to implement the mandatory teaching of Marathi from this academic year starting June.
“Besides looking into the existing laws of these states [Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka, and Kerala], we are also planning to hold brainstorming sessions with stakeholders, including school managements, before introducing the bill,” said Marathi Language Department secretary Prajakta Lawangare.
A School Education Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they are making it mandatory to introduce Marathi as one of the two compulsory languages in all schools. “Many ICSE and CBSE schools treat Marathi as optional language and the marks scored in this subject are not calculated in final results. It will be introduced from Class 1 and Class 5 simultaneously so that the language is made compulsory over the next five years.”
The official said that introducing the proposed law on the first day of the session may be difficult as deliberation with stakeholders and studying its implementation of similar laws in other states may take some time.
Education expert Vasant Kalpande said that the proposed law will help conserve the language but it should be enforced in letter and spirit. “In Kerala and Tamil Nadu, 60% and 45% of the students study in English-medium schools, while in Maharashtra, the percentage is 25. This means the percentage of students studying in Marathi-medium schools is more than in English-medium schools. Merely enacting the law would not help, but its implementation is more important. Sometimes, students in English-medium schools find it difficult to score good marks in Marathi and hence they are reluctant to opt for the subject,” he said.
Navi Mumbai’s Bal Bharti Public School principal Ganesh Parameswaran said they would not have any difficulty in implementing the law if it is passed. “Barring a few difficulties like rearrangements of lectures and teachers, there would not be any problem in introducing Marathi as a compulsory language. Our school teaches it from Class I,” he said.
Tamil Nadu was the first to introduce such legislation in the country in 2006. Other southern states have enacted similar laws over the past few years.