Government dropped idea of 3-languages from draft National Education Policy, education boards to decide on choice of languages

New Delhi : Amid an uproar from southern states, the Centre on Monday dropped the controversial reference to the three-language policy from the draft National Education Policy. The earlier draft read, “The study of three languages by students in Hindi-speaking states would continue to include Hindi and English and one of the modern languages from other parts of India, while the study of languages by students in non-Hindi speaking states would include the regional language, Hindi and English”.

The reference to Hindi for non-Hindi speaking states immediately set off protests. This has been revised to, “In keeping with the principle of flexibility, students who wish to change one or more of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6 or Grade 7, so long as they are able to still demonstrate proficiency in three languages (one language at the literature level) in their modular board examinations some time during secondary school.”

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The choice of available languages would be left to the state boards. Over the past two days, the government fielded external affairs minister S Jaishankar and finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman to clarify that there was no move to alter the three-language formula. Given BJP’s plans for political expansion in south India after gains in Telangana and Karnataka, the government is at pains to distance itself from the row.

Speaking to TOI, the HRD secretary said the document was a very progressive one, recommending radical changes in restructuring of undergraduate programmes, bringing all research activities under one platform with Rs 20,000-crore funding, suggesting a new regulatory framework for higher education institutions and bringing pre-primary education under the academic calendar.

“The report recommends some radical measures like restructuring of undergraduate programmes by bringing in broad spectrum changes. Another important recommendation the NEP committee made is on the National Research Foundation to bring in all research work under one roof,” R Subrahmanyam said.

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