One week after the Sonowal cabinet decided to make Sanskrit compulsory up to Class 8 in state board schools, Assam Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said it would not be possible because of a severe shortage of teachers for the particular subject.
“There are certain difficulties in making Sanskrit compulsory. There is a severe dearth of Sanskrit teachers. For the time being Sanskrit can be taught only to students of Classes 8, 9 and 10 in schools which have Sanskrit teachers,” Sarma said.
He also said he was not present in the cabinet meeting of February 28 which had taken the decision. “I have already informed the chief minister about the practical problems of making Sanskrit compulsory. But in Classes 8 to 10, learning Sanskrit grammar will immensely benefit those learning Assamese,” Sarma said here on Tuesday.
Instead, Sarma said, the government would make Assamese compulsory in private schools of the state up to Class 8. “We want to make Assamese compulsory up to Class 8 in the private schools across the state,” the education minister said.
The Sonowal cabinet’s decision to make Sanskrit compulsory had evoked strong opposition from various quarters, with an umbrella body of Sahitya Sabhas of eight tribal communities of the state calling for a “partial four-language formula” under which students could learn a tribal language of the state alongside Hindi apart from English and mother tongue.
Paresh Barua, leader of the anti-talk faction of ULFA on the other hand demanded making Bodo compulsory in all schools of the state. The Bodo Sahitya Sabha however rejected Barua’s demand by saying that it was opposed to imposition of any language on students of different mother tongues.