- The Central government has released a revised Draft National Education Policy(DNEP) after several southern states had opposed the compulsory teaching of Hindi in schools under the three-language formula.
- The initial version had made it mandatory for students in Hindi-speaking states learn a modern Indian language, apart from Hindi and English and in non-Hindi-speaking states,Hindi along with the regional language and English.
- The revised draft policy now states that 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 demonstrate proficiency in three languages in their modular Board Examinations some time during secondary school.
- However,the revised draft retains the recommendation to introduce a three-language formula from Class 1 onwards but it simply removes the clause stipulating the specific languages that students must choose.
- The three-language formula was first formulated in 1968 in consultation with the states and then incorporated into the National Education Policy.The idea was to encourage students to learn more than one language or just their mother tongue, and to have north Indians learn a southern language and vice versa.
- The original formula spelt out that students learn their mother tongue or a regional language, the official language of the Union (English) or the associate official language of the Union (Hindi), and a modern Indian language.
- In Hindi-speaking states,the formula translated into learning Hindi, English and a modern Indian language (preferably south Indian).For students in non-Hindi speaking states, it mandated lessons in Hindi,English and regional language.But the contours of implementation still lay with states since education is a state subject.
- Further,this is not the first time that the country is witnessing protests against Hindi.Tamil Nadu had always resisted the imposition of Hindi.In 1965,the state had witnessed violent protests against a proposal that Hindi would be India’s only official language.
- The anti-Hindi sentiments in Southern states especially Tamil Nadu is not just a language affair.The imposition of Hindi is seen as the hegemony of the North and the introduction of mono-culture by the Southern states.
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