Revising its draft education policy, the Centre Monday dropped the contentious provision of compulsory teaching of Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states after the three-language proposal sparked outrage, mainly in Tamil Nadu.
The DMK and other parties in Tamil Nadu, which had strongly opposed the proposal in the 484-page draft National Education Policy(NEP) to make Hindi a mandatory third language to be taught in schools across the country, welcomed the Centre’s decision.
The parties had alleged that the move was tantamount to thrusting the Hindi language on the non-Hindi speaking states.
“Students who wish to change one or more of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6 or Grade 7, so long as they are able to still demonstrate proficiency in three languages (one language at the literature level) in their modular Board Examinations sometime during secondary school,” the revised draft of the NEP said.
In the earlier draft, the panel proposed mandatory teaching of Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states.
“Students who wish to change one of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6, so long as the study of three languages by students in the Hindi-speaking states would continue to include Hindi and English and one of the modern Indian languages from other parts of India, while the study of languages by students in the non-Hindi-speaking states would include the regional language, Hindi and English,” the earlier draft policy said.
“It was a draft report and not policy yet. We have sought feedback from various stakeholders. The committee has modified the earlier draft and made some changes,” a Human Resource Development Ministry official said in Delhi.
According to the revised draft, the modular board examinations for language proficiency would test only basic proficiency in each language.
“Such a change in language choice in Grade 6 would certainly be feasible if the student so desires and would in such cases be supported by teachers and the schooling system.”
Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who had formed the panel when he was the HRD minister in the previous term, earlier asserted that no language should be imposed on anyone. He clarified that the committee had only prepared a draft report and no decision had been taken on implementing it.