The Dogma of Languages : Professor Fatema Abbas

With the onset of the new draft of the National Education Policy 2019, the Government of India has taken a definitive step in creating a robust education policy which will set a new superfluity of reformative strategies thus helping in focusing and building a curriculum which will boost the education system of the country. The most significant impact, however; is this year’s National Education Policy and the introduction of the guidelines which will secure the growth and preservation of the Indian languages. With a mixed culture of over 1.33 billion people and more than a thousand languages talked all over the country, India is one of the exceptional countries with a multilingual society which itself is a matter of pride for our country.

Promoting the Heritage of Languages.

The Government of India has taken a different multitude of measures for the improvement of the mature cultural languages of India. The Government has constituted the Indian Language Promotion Council for their advice and guidance in promoting various Indian languages. With the help of several literary figures, authors, professors, and prominent experts, the Government has taken the initiative to promote literature in the different languages of the country.

The National Education Policy Draft

The draft of National Education Policy 2019 has envisaged for providing support to set up and revive the Indian Language Program. It includes but not be limited to Schedule VIII languages, which comprises a list of 22 languages recognized as the official languages of the country, presented under Articles 344 clause (1), and Articles 355 of the Indian Constitution. The draft has also incorporated to set up National Institute of Pali, Persian, and Prakrit language, and a few other Tribal languages. The draft policy has also envisioned to recruit high-quality faculty for at least three Indian languages, in addition to the local Indian languages. For research of Indian languages, literature, education, and associated areas, adequate funds will be distributed by the government. With proper centre/state coordination, each of these bodies will publish a comprehensive updated dictionary of their respective languages every three years. The draft has also recommended the use of curriculum with standardized terminology in both schools and universities.

The need for Promotion of the Cultural Languages.

The Constitution has recognized a limited number of languages in the state levels, some Indian origin languages which even the native speakers used rarely to express their thoughts, have thus become obsolete. Sanskrit, the primary and oldest language in existence, is considered the mother of all Indian languages. In addition to Sanskrit; Pali, Parsi, and Prakrit are such Indian ancestral languages which are rarely used as a medium of communication. The Government has taken numerous measures for promoting Sanskrit. The Government is planning to run courses in the regular Universities and Institutions, such as the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, Delhi; and Kendriya Hindi Sansthan, Agra etc. The Government has also taken steps to set up at least two Sanskrit speaking villages near the Sanskrit Institutes of the country.

The Draft of National Education Policy, 2019 has further envisaged on the following points:-

(a)Education in the Home Language/Mother tongue: It is well understood that young children learn and grasp non-trivial concepts more quickly in their home language/Mother tongue. There is a strong need to conduct classes in the early year of the students in local languages and books in the local language should be developed.

(b)Home language/Mother tongue as medium of instruction: The medium of instruction in schools up to the 5th grade but preferably up to the 2nd grade should be the home language. Hereafter, the local language should be continued to be taught in higher classes. For this purpose, an adequate number of schools, teachers and textbooks need to be developed.

(c)Bilingual approach for those whose language is different from the primary medium of instruction: The teachers will be encouraged to use bilingual materials to teach those students whose home language may be different from the medium of instruction.

(d)Exposure to three or more languages in school: To leverage the enhanced language learning skills among young children all students from pre-school and grade 1 onwards will be exposed to three or more languages to develop speaking proficiency and hereafter to make them able to read and write in all the three languages.

(e)Continuation of three language formula in school: The three-language formula followed since the adoption of the National policy of Education, 1968 and endorsed in the National Policy on Education 1986 and 1992, which is proposed to be continued keeping in mind the Constitutional Provisions and the aspirations of the people, regions and the Union.

(f)Implementation of the Three Language Formula: The three-language formula will be implemented in its spirit throughout the country for promoting multilingual communicative abilities for a multilingual country like India.

(g)Recruitment of teachers for language teaching: There will be a major nationwide effort and initiative to recruit teachers to teach a given language.

(h)Learning Science bilingually: Students whose medium of instruction is the local/home language will begin to learn science bilingually i.e. both in the local/home language, and in English from class 8 or earlier so that at the end of class 10 they can speak about their work both in their local language and in English.

A view on Multilingualism in Education.

The committee of the draft National Education Policy 2019 has emphasised on the multilingual approach of the Indian education system. In the interest of the integrity of the nation, this will be an effective and highly-appreciated strategy. Children in their early age groups can learn languages exceptionally quickly, and their ability to understand different language can help enrich them to develop themselves intellectually and culturally, which makes our country better educated and nationally integrated. Moreover, Indian languages are the richest, scientific, and the most expressive in the world, with a tremendous amount of ancient as well as modern literature. Also, there is a need for focusing on the English language in the education system. English is the standard language used in business communication, education, trade, and almost all of the research papers are written in English. It is essential for students, and teachers alike for pursuing higher education, especially for technical, management, and doctoral programmes as English can provide better resources in literature. It may be asserted that English has become a standard language of communication accepted globally. It is perceived that most of the developed countries in the world use the English languages as the preferred means of interaction, and also in imparting education. Therefore, using it gives you the most probability of being understood. English is also known as the language of business. Business English has become dominant and is considered essential in the field of improving trade relations with other countries as it is often associated with global commerce, finance, and digital communication. The magnitude of learning English is necessary as it will help in the international marketplace if people want to enter a global workforce.

The need for the Continuation and Implementation of Three Lingual Formula in School: India is a multilingual country. Still, usage of Hindi appears to be prevalent in a large number of states. However, the south, the north-east, and the eastern part of India have its regional languages. Hence, it would be difficult to make Hindi as the medium of instruction for these non-Hindi speaking states. According to the trilingual formula, Hindi may be made a mandatory subject in all the schools in India, along with English. Although local languages should be the medium of instruction and the teaching and learning of local language should be made compulsory for all schools, both public and private – for a strong and united India. If the trilingual formula is implemented in such a way, then all the Indian languages will endure, and the feeling of oneness will unite the entire country.