The state education minister informing the legislative assembly on Friday that Marathi will be compulsory till grade VII in CBSE, ICSE and IB schools as a pre-condition for granting a no-objection certificate (NOC) to schools, has made school managements, academics and experts react saying it is a politically motivated move.
Criticising Education Minister Vinod Tawde, Arundhati Chavan, president of PTA united Forum said these changes do not seem genuine and the need of the hour.
“This is just another politically motivated move. Teaching Marathi in schools is not a bad idea, however forcing it on students is wrong. How will students of Grade IV and V understand the concept of Shivaji Maharaj as management guru? I agree students must learn and read about his contribution towards Maharashtra and Hindavi Swaraj. Learning basic Marathi as a state language is fine. What if parents want to shift to another state, they will have to learn another compulsory language,” Chavan said.
Sunita George, principal of Vibgyor High said most parents have transferable jobs and have to shift to another state and making Marathi compulsory might inconvenience them. “As schools our primary responsibility and duty is to impart quality education to students. We cannot make changes that will complicate parents. In our school, we teach Marathi from Class V to Class VIII. If parents keep shifting to other states their kids cannot keep learning different languages as rules of that particular state. Marathi is a beautiful language but cannot be forced on students,” added George.
Kalpana Dwivedi, Principal of St Joseph’s School (CBSE) said, “It is a good decision to have dedicated chapters on Shivaji Maharaj’s contribution… however making Marathi compulsory till class VII is a little unfair. Many students from non-Marathi schools find it difficult.”
CBSE schools have Marathi as a compulsory subject till class IV, from Class V onwards it becomes optional. Other non-state boards have Marathi as optional language.
Jayant Jain, educational activist with NGO Forum For Fairness in.Education asked why identify only contribution of Shivaji Maharaj, why not others who laid down their lives for the country.
“ Marathi should be a compulsory language as it is the language of the state. However, having dedicated lessons only on Shivaji Maharaj might impress a few. There so many other leaders whose contribution is forgotten today… they deserve at least a section in history textbooks. This seems like a planned political agenda to me,” Jain said.
Another principal from a well-known ICSE school in Juhu said, “This is a clear political move and we do not want to be part of it right now. Once the state government officially comes.up with a circular or GR we will decide further course of action. I have heard that the concept will be discussed with officials and representatives of all non-state boards. We shall await an official decision on this.”
The decision to.include a detailed chapter on Shivaji Maharaj as a management guru was first announced by Tawde on the occasion of Shivaji Jayanti.
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