Centre assures states as parties whip up anti-Hindi frenzy over draft education policy
03 June 2019
Amidst protests by anti-Modi elements over the draft version of the National Education Policy 2019, the NDA-ruled government at the centre on Sunday issued a clarification that what is being passed on for consultations with states is the draft of the recommendations by the Kasturirangan Committee and that there is no move by the central government to thrust Hindi upon any state.
The original draft National Education Policy proposes that students from non-Hindi speaking states study Hindi and English apart from their respective regional languages under the three-language formula.
According to the draft National Education Policy that was made public by the new government, the three-language formula should be introduced at an earlier stage in schools.
The Centre has now made it clear that the draft education policy is flexible and that there is option to change one or more of the three languages midway if the student wishes so.
“This is a draft policy submitted by the committee and is placed for views of the general public. It is not the policy announced by government. After getting feedback from general public, and after consulting state governments, the National Education Policy will be finalised by the government.
“Government under the leadership of Narendra Modi is committed to equal development and promotion of all Indian languages. There will be no imposition of any language in educational institutions, nor discrimination against any language,” says an official clarification.
“In keeping with the principle of flexibility, 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 some time during secondary school,” says the revised draft.
The expert panel, which prepared the National Education Policy, made a change to the draft even before consultations could begin.
“The study of languages by students in the non-Hindi speaking states would include the regional language, Hindi and English,” the draft prepared by a committee headed by former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief K Kasturirangan had said.
In the non-Hindi speaking states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, political parties are whipping up frenzy against the Narendra Modi government.
In Tamil Nadu, parties of every political shade — from the opposition DMK to the Left and actor Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam — slammed the report, which they saw as a precursor to the imposition of Hindi “The DMK will never allow imposition of Hindi. It will raise its voice in Parliament and outside and strive to stall it,” DMK’s MP Kanimozhi Karunandhi said.
The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)in Tamil Nadu, an ally of the BJP, was muted in its response, but said the Tamil Nadu government maintained that the state will persist with a two-language formula – Tamil and English.
HRD ministry official said the clause on the three-language formula was changed by the Kasturirangan Committee itself.
Kasturirangan said the idea was for a language policy that was multilingual, flexible and that the choice is left to state, institutions and even parents. “But when this particular para went into the policy book and when you read it as an outsider with not much of a connection with the various elements of the language policy, it looked a little out of step. We realised the moment there was a concern expressed in certain quarters,” he said.