The Union government is committed to “strengthen” all 22 scheduled languages of the country and wants mother tongue to be the medium of instruction at the level of primary education, Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said at a meeting called to discuss the draft National Education Policy (NEP) on Saturday.
Speaking at a meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE), Pokhriyal assured representatives of 26 states in the wake of the controversy over NEP’s recommendation on the three-language formula.
CABE is the highest advisory agency on education and has representatives of all states. Saturday’s meeting was called to seek suggestions of state governments on the draft NEP released in June.
Pokhriyal said: “There is one misunderstanding that I want to clear. The three-language formula was the same in 1969, 1986 and 1992; and even today, we haven’t touched it. I feel that people have not either understood it or don’t want to understand it. We (government) are committed to strengthen all Indian languages.”
He said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that we have to strengthen all our 22 (official/scheduled) languages. We want that education in childhood should be in mother tongue…. We are going to discuss everything in detail with you (states). Nothing will change overnight.”
While the minister welcomed suggestions from states, he also urged them to implement them on their own since education is “also a state subject”.
He said, “I would urge you to take decision at your level, too. When we talk about teacher vacancy, it’s important that the states also fill up vacancies in their educational institutions (schools and higher educational institutions).”
Pokhriyal also said that state governments should take advantage of Central schemes, a majority of which will continue even after the final NEP is implemented.