The Hindu – Centre removes mandatory Hindi from draft education policy after TN protests

The new version omits any reference to which languages students may choose.

Priscilla Jebaraj

New Delhi – India, 03 June 2019. Facing pressure from Tamil Nadu against the draft National Education Policy’s recommendation for mandatory Hindi teaching in all the States, the Union government has issued a modified draft leaving out the controversial clause.

In the modified draft uploaded by the Human Resource Development Ministry, Section 4.5.9, titled ‘Flexibility in the choice of languages’ has been changed, omitting any reference to which languages students may choose.

The draft policy will only be implemented after public hearings, said a tweet written in Tamil by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Earlier, the section included a sentence saying, “In keeping with the principle of flexibility, 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 new draft simply says, “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.”

Since the release of the draft on Friday evening, all Tamil Nadu Opposition parties, including the DMK, the Congress, the MDMK, Left parties and Kamal Hassan’s Makkal Needhi Maiyyam have blasted the recommendation. Even the ruling AIADMK, which is allied to the National Democratic Alliance government in power at the Centre, insisted that it would not dilute the State’s two language formula, which does not mandate the teaching of Hindi. Protests were also seen in West Bengal and Maharashtra.

On Sunday, the Centre went into damage control mode, with senior Cabinet Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and S Jaishankar tweeting in Tamil as well as English, with the reassurance that no language would be imposed, and that the Policy would not go into effect without taking into account further consultations with States and feedback from the public.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/centre-removes-mandatory-hindi-from-draft-education-policy-after-tn-protests/article27412373.ece?homepage=true

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