STATE EDUCATION Minister Partha Chatterjee on Monday announced that from now, students of all schools — irrespective of boards or mother tongue — would have to learn three languages from Class I to X, one of which would have to be Bengali. “From now on, it will be compulsory for students to learn Bengali in schools. English medium schools will have to make Bengali an optional subject from Class I so that the students can study it either as a second or third language,” Chatterjee told mediapersons.
As of now, students study two languages in schools from Class I, which is usually their mother tongue and English. From Class VII, they study a third language — another language, which could be Indian or foreign. While choosing the third language, till now it was not compulsory for students — who did not study Bengali as the first or second language — to opt for Bengali.
“Students will now have the freedom to choose their first, second and third languages. If a student selects either Bengali or Hindi or English or Gurumukhi or Urdu or Nepali or Ol Chiki as his first language, he will have to select two other languages, one of which has to be Bengali. With Bengali selected as one of the languages, the student will have the freedom to choose any other languages as the remaining two languages,” Chatterjee said.
When asked whether English medium schools would have to abide by this norm, the minister said: “English medium schools will have to provide students the option of selecting Bengali as either the second or third language. This applies to all schools in Bengal….” The move is aimed at making students learn more languages, he added.