A DAY after her government made Bengali compulsory from Class I to X in all schools, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took to Facebook to laud the move.“India is a vast country and the strength of our nation is unity in diversity. We must respect every mother tongue and also give every regional language its importance. We believe in the freedom of choice and the three language formula,” Mamata posted.
On Monday, Education Minister Partha Chatterjee had announced that students of all schools — irrespective of boards or mother tongue — will now have to learn three languages from Class I to X, one of which would have to be Bengali.
On Facebook, Mamata wrote: “Students have the freedom to take any language of their choice as a first language, second or third language. If the student chooses Bengali, Hindi, English, Urdu, Gurmukhi, Nepali, Alchiki as a first language, he/she may opt for two other languages of their choice. One of the three languages would have to be Bengali. The two other choices are completely dependent on what the student chooses. This method would enable them to reach regional, national and international standards.”
The Opposition, meanwhile, ridiculed the move. “The state government should consult other education boards before taking a final decision. Instead of making Bengali compulsory in schools, the state government should improve the overall academic atmosphere in West Bengal. It should first ensure a violence-free education sector,” said BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha.
The educational fraternity, however, welcomed the government’s decision. Former principal of Presidency College, Amal Mukhopadhyay, said: “It is being noticed for some time that the current generation practically stays away from Bengali language and literature. Those from English medium schools have poor knowledge of Bengali. This is unfortunate and that’s why I think making Bengali compulsory is necessary. As far as I know, in other states, the knowledge of the local language is important to get a government job.”