The Ministry of Human Resource Development may have promised to allow students to pick any modern Indian language as their third language after removing German as an option in Kendriya Vidyalayas, but the decision may effectively mean a return to the KVs’ earlier policy where Sanskrit had been made the mandatory third language owing to logistical difficulties.
Top government officials admitted that scrapping German as third language means “a return to the earlier policy where Sanskrit was mandatory”.
Explaining this, sources said that after KVs decided to adopt the Three Language Formula in 1988, regional languages were initially to be made available as third language options. However, this system could never be implemented effectively because of logistical issues and because of the difficulty in maintaining uniformity.
Thus, in 2001, KVs passed an order making Hindi, English and Sanskrit mandatory as the three languages, allowing the option of a regional language only as an additional subject, if 15 or more students opted for it. This system carried right up to 2011 till German was brought in as an option. Around 500 KVs were offering German.
While the option of picking any modern Indian language as third language is on paper available to the current batch of around 70,000 students between Classes VI-VIII currently studying German, who have been affected by the government order, the batch entering Class VI in the next academic session would have to study Sanskrit, besides Hindi and English.
Top government sources admitted there was little logistical preparedness for offering any regional language to the affected students in the next three months. Since KVs’ policy is a language will be offered only if 15 or more students opt for it, in the current situation, with limited time in hand, organising teachers and other logistics to facilitate each student’s demand, as promised by the minister, is posing a huge challenge.
Officials said the ministry and Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan are “banking on the fact that most students who are now forced to drop German will anyway pick Sanskrit”.
To those entering Class VI next year, the option of a regional language would be again available only as an additional subject, and again if a minimum of 15 students in that batch opt for that particular language.
The Board of Governors of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, headed by HRD Minister Smriti Irani, had in its meeting on October 27 decided that “teaching of German language as an option to Sanskrit will be discontinued forthwith”. German has been kept as an additional subject/hobby class for students.
According to the HRD Ministry, teaching German as the third language violates the National Policy and the Three Language Formula, as per which schools should teach Hindi, English and one modern Indian language. The latter should preferably be one of the southern languages in Hindi-speaking states and Hindi, English and the regional language in non-Hindi speaking states.