NEP Language Policy Guidelines: Medium of Instruction to be in Local Language Wherever Possible
National Education Policy implemented the three-language formula in the first NEP in 1968 which is still continued.
Meanwhile, the centre has reduced concerns stating that the language policy emphasising medium of instruction in regional or mother tongue is a broad guideline and it’s up to the states and institutions to decide its exact implementation.
The Central government also pointed out that NEP reiterates the RTE Act’s 29 (2) (f) provision that mother tongue is considered a medium of instruction where possible.
It was also highlighted by the government that NEP while laying emphasis on promotion of Indian languages, does not make any language compulsory.
Furthermore, the government is likely to release the strategy for the promotion of Indian languages in the National Curriculum Framework by June 2021.
The discussion over language has come into light due to the reference “medium of instruction until at least Class V, but preferably till Class VIII and beyond (in regional/mother tongue),” which is proposed in NEP.
Following this, apprehensions were raised whether schools will now need to shift their medium of instruction from English to a native Indian language.
Schools to take a call on the medium of instruction: Government
According to the government, the language policy in NEP is a broad guideline and no language has been imposed on anyone. Education is on the concurrent list, and finally, it’s up to the states to decide.
“It is the reiteration of RTE Act’s provision which states ‘medium of instructions shall, as far as practicable, be in child’s mother tongue,” said Anita Karwal, secretary, school education, MHRD.
On the discussion of whether schools, where the medium of instruction is English, will have to shift to a local language, Karwal said: “NEP said wherever possible. Therefore, it is not mandatory and up to the schools.”
“In central government-run schools like Kendriya Vidyalayas, the medium of instruction is bilingual — Hindi and English. She said the medium of instructions won’t change for special purpose schools like KVs,” she added.
On this matter, a principal of the school Anuradha Joshi said, “There are schools like Sardar Patel Vidyalaya in Delhi which has been practising for the last 60 years what NEP is proposing — the students are taught in Hindi till class V and thereafter in English.”
“This policy reaffirms our philosophy and curriculum that we have followed for 60 years. In terms of the emphasis on languages and the pedagogical advice shared, we see a reflection of practices that have been successfully followed here,” she added.