States can choose any 3 languages under Three-language formula in schools: MHRD

New Delhi: Amid a raging debate about the Centre’s perceived attempts to impose Hindi on all states, the Human Resource Development Ministry (HRD) Saturday said that it would not force any language on states via the three-language formula in schools.

The matter was discussed at the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) meeting with Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ and education ministers from 26 states. CABE is the highest decision-making body for education in the country.

“Most of the states demanded education in their own mother tongues and the government is positive about it. The states have been told that they will not have to teach mandatory Hindi and can chose any three languages, including their mother tongue, under the three-language formula,” a ministry source present at the CABE meeting said.

Several ministers, specially those from the south Indian states, had earlier expressed their apprehension over the Centre’s reported moves to impose Hindi.

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When the first draft of the National Education Policy (NEP) was made public on 31 May, a controversy had erupted over the three-language formula. A line in the policy draft was misinterpreted as the government’s stand on making Hindi compulsory for all states.

The provision had kicked up a huge uproar in states such as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, which criticised it as an attempt to thrust Hindi on them. Eminent scientist K. Kasturirangan, head of the committee that drafted the policy, had earlier told ThePrint that there was a mistake in its interpretation which led to the confusion.

The three-language formula spells out that students learn their mother tongue or a regional language, the official language of the union (English) or the associate official language of the union (Hindi), and a modern Indian language.

In Hindi-speaking states, the formula translated into learning Hindi, English and a modern Indian language (preferably south Indian). For students in non-Hindi speaking states, it mandated lessons in Hindi, English and the regional language.

But the contours of implementation still lay with states since education is a state subject.

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