To make non-Gujarati students speak and write Gujarati, the state Education Department has launched Gujarati language textbooks in Class I and II, making the language a mandatory subject in all government schools. The textbooks will be introduced in all state schools, except the Gujarat board schools, after Diwali.
As reported by The Indian Express earlier, the language experts at Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT) have tried not to impose the language upon non-Gujarati students. The experts then came up with guidelines for teachers who will teach the language to non-Gujarati students, said a language expert who is a member of the curriculum framework team.
In the guidelines, teachers have been directed not to give stress on grammar and spellings for the next two to three years. This is to make the subject interesting to a non-Gujarati student and not make them avoid the language, said a member.
“In the initial two years, we will allow students to use their first language while speaking in Gujarati. Students will be made to recognise Gujarati letters as pictures. Teachers have been asked to make students hear and speak Gujarati in audio-visual medium,” says GCERT director T S Joshi.
The teachers have also been asked not to hesitate in taking help of Gujarati children studying in the class. “Make them your partners and make them lead a group,” the textbook instructs.
The drafting team believes that with this curriculum non-Gujarati medium students would read and speak better Gujarati than their counterparts in Gujarati-medium schools.
The state government had announced the decision of making Gujarati mandatory in all non-Gujarati board affiliated schools in the Assembly session in March.
Expressing concern over the “decline in Gujarati-speaking population”, Education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said, “To keep students attached to their mother language and motherland, it is very important for a child to be aware of Gujarati language and its literature.”
The textbooks attempt at creating a connection with the students. The curriculum covers old age songs and rhymes as balgeet which their parents and grandparents must have learned.