Govt U-turn on education policy, mandatory Hindi dropped

Facing severe criticism from the DMK and other southern parties, the Central government has revised its draft education policy, dropping the contentious provision of imposing mandatory teaching of Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states.

The parties in Tamil Nadu had strongly opposed the three-language formula proposed in the draft National Education Policy (NEP) and alleged that it was tantamount to thrusting Hindi language on non-Hindi speaking states. Several parties, including the Congress and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, joined Tamil leaders to oppose the proposed provisions of the NEP.

However, after the three-language proposal sparked an outrage the Union human resource development (HRD) ministry swung into action and released a revised draft of the NEP.

“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,” the revised draft of the NEP said.

In the earlier draft, the panel had suggested mandatory teaching of Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states. 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,” it added.

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