Why Language is most debatable in NEP 2020

The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) is a most controversial due to Home Language Vs English, and The New Three Language Formula.
The 34 years old National Policy of Education, 1986 is set to replace by the National Education Policy 2020 and it will bring major changes to the rigid education system in the country.

Medium of Instruction :

• The existing medium of instruction mostly on English and Hindi as the central language for education in the country but according to new policy, the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5 or preferably till Grade 8 and beyond, will be the home language/mother tongue/local language/regional language (*It is not compulsory).

• The home language/local language shall continue to be taught as a language wherever possible.

• This will be followed by both public and private schools.

• To prepare high quality textbooks and teaching-learning materials for science and mathematics will be made available in home language/mother tongue and in English.

• Teachers will be encouraged to use a bilingual approach.

The New Three-Language Formula :
+ It will continue three language formula which was first introduced to the country in 1968.
+ In the preexisting policy, Hindi and English were heavily stressed upon in Central Schools in most parts of the country, and were considered mandatory among the three languages to be taught. The third language would be a regional language, a foreign language or a classical language like Sanskrit.
+ According to New policy, the languages learned by children will be the choices of States, regions, and of course the students themselves, so long as at least  two of the three languages are native to India.

The NEP says " All effort will be made early on to ensure that any gaps that exist between the language spoken by the child and the medium of teaching are bridged". 

"This is a tremendous idea. That is how should be," said Anil Swarup, former school education secratory in the central government.

Dr. Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan (head of New Education Policy Committee) said on three language formula -
" No individual or specific language will be imposed on any state, if the state does not want it. Also, the flexibility to learn these languages is the optimal approach, as far as language is concerned".

History of the Medium of Instruction :

Article 350A of the Constitution states that every state and local authority should endeavours to provide "adequate facilities for instruction in the mother tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups".

Kothari Commission report on Education and national development (1964-66) - suggested that in tribal areas, for the first two years of school, the medium of instruction and books should be in the local tribal language. The regional language should be taught separately and should become the medium of instruction by the third year.

Right to Education Act, 2009, said that as far as possible, the medium of instruction in school should be the child's mother tongue.

Benefits :

• It is well known that young children learn and grasp difficult concepts more quickly in their home language/mother tongue.

• It will boost students confidence.

• The NEP 2020 would be maintain the "Diversity with Unity".

• It will promote cultural enrichment and national integration.

• All languages will be taught in an enjoyable and interactive style, sometime in Grade 6-8, such as, under the 'Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat' initiative.

Challenges :

• It is  most challenging to implement without English.

• "It is fine for educationists to say that the local language should be the medium of instruction but that is not what parents want, not what family want. They want English which they think will take their children ahead in life," said Ranajit Bhattacharya of ASER.

• "Language is extremely Political," said Upender Singh of Pratham.

According to Census 2011 - there are 270 mother tongues; as per a 2017 study, 47 languages were used as medium of instruction in Indian classrooms.

 "It might not be possible for all languages to become the medium of instruction and it might not be possible for large parts of the country to implement this," said Jhingram.

• Private schools not obliged to follow the instructions in the NEP 2020.

• Teachers to be teach more than one language is a big challenge.

• Tamil Nadu against the three language formula in the state.

• According to experts, it widened the divide between those who can communicate in English and those who cannot.

Way Forward :

• The ideal scenario will be splitting a class into different sections, according to the medium of instruction.

• There has to be systematic outreach to parents to help them understand that even English will become easier for their children if they start with the home language. 

• The NEP 2020, medium of instruction as "politically acceptable", 
"socially desirable" & 
"technically possible,"  
to implement it.

No language will be imposed on any student. Students to participate in a fun project/activity on "The Language of India", sometime in Grade 6-8, such as, under the 'Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat' initiative.

Also Practice : MCQ on NEP 2020


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