The Central Board of Secondary Education’s (CBSE) decision to implement the three-language formula up to Class X will not lead to the imposition of one language on schools, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar assured on Wednesday.
Asked if Sanskrit would become compulsory in CBSE-affiliated schools, he said, “I have not gone through the Board’s recommendation in detail, but we are not going to impose any language on schools. The three-language formula is currently being implemented across the country, except in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. We are not changing that.”
Under the National Education Policy, the three-language formula means students in Hindi-speaking states should learn a modern Indian language, apart from Hindi and English and, in non-Hindi-speaking states, they should learn Hindi along with the regional language and English.
However, a majority of the 18,000 affiliated institutions offer the mother tongue or Hindi, English and a foreign language such as German and Mandarin up to Class VIII. All CBSE schools will now not only have to implement the three-language formula in letter and spirit, but also extend it up to Class X. A directive, with finer details and timing of implementation, will be issued to schools as soon as the move is ratified by the government.
The decision comes almost two years after the HRD Ministry, under Smriti Irani’s leadership, forced Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) to discontinue teaching of German as a third language in classes VI to VIII on the ground that it violates the three-language formula. KVs were directed to replace it with Sanskrit or any modern Indian language. German is still taught, but as a hobby/additional language.
Javadekar also supported the CBSE’s move to make the Class X Board exams compulsory from 2018. “This (opting out of Board exams in Class X) was an anomaly. Why should only CBSE students have the freedom to opt out (of Board exams) when the students elsewhere cannot,” he said.