Hindi must be made mandatory till Class 8, says NEP

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HRD Minister denies news reports

NEW DELHI, JANUARY 10: Adhere strictly to the 3-language formula with Hindi mandatory till Class 8 across the country, ensure a uniform syllabus nationwide for Science and Maths, develop a script in Devanagari for tribal dialects, and promote education based on “hunar (skill)”.
These are some of the key recommendations in the draft report prepared by the 9-member K Kasturirangan Committee on the New Education Policy (NEP), which aims to implement an “India-centric” and “scientific” system of learning in schools, The Indian Express has learnt.
Sources said the Committee handed over its report to the HRD Ministry last month before its tenure ended on December 31, 2018. “We have sought a meeting with the HRD Minister to hand over the report formally,” a member of the Committee said on condition of anonymity.
Speaking to The Indian Express, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said: “The committee’s report is ready and the members have sought an appointment. I will get the report after the Parliament session.”
Sources said the Government is yet to decide the next step for the policy, including placing it in the public domain for further suggestions and feedback.
“While subjects under Social Sciences need local content, there is no logic for a varied syllabus for Science and Mathematics in different state boards up to Class 12. Science and Mathematics may be taught in any language, but the syllabus should be the same in all states,” sources said. The Indian Express has learnt that the proposed NEP also advocates developing a syllabus for up to Class 5 in local languages, such as Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Maithili, etc., in areas where they are spoken.
“Also, there are several tribal dialects that either have no script or are written in the Roman script due to the influence of missionaries. The NEP says that Devanagari will be developed as a script for these dialects. It says that we need an India-centric education system,” said sources.
The draft NEP is also learnt to have suggested a “strict implementation” of the 3-language formula while recommending that Hindi be made mandatory across the country up to Class 8. At present, Hindi is not compulsory at schools in many non-Hindi-speaking states, such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, West Bengal and Assam.
Among the other recommendations made by the Committee are:
* Permanent high-power committee on education, headed by Prime Minister, to meet at regular intervals.
* Regulatory mechanism to be strengthened and headed by non-bureaucrats.
* Technical and professional courses to be promoted among SC/ST students.
According to sources, the draft NEP was prepared after “marathon discussions” on August 16, 2018. The committee is learnt to have incorporated suggestions received from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Besides, sources said, the panel held a meeting with Javadekar and representatives of 7 states.
Sources said the proposed policy was also discussed during a meeting of the Shiksha Samooh (Education Group) of RSS-linked organisations on December 20, 2018, in Delhi. Last October, referring to the policy in his Vijayadashami address, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had said: “Time is running out in the wait for the implementation of the new education policy.” In March 2015, the RSS Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS) had passed a resolution on imparting primary education in the “mother language”.
The last NEP was brought in 1986, and revised in 1992. Based on the NEP, the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) was released in 2005 and expected to be revised after 10 years. However, the NDA Government decided to finalise the NEP instead.
Apart from former ISRO chief Kasturirangan, the members of the committee include: Mumbai-based educationist Vasudha Kamat; Union MoS KJ Alphons; Princeton University Professor and Mathematician Manjul Bhargava; Baba Saheb Ambedkar University of Social Sciences-Indore ex-Vice-Chancellor Ram Shankar Kureel; Indira Gandhi National Tribal University-Amarkantak Vice-Chancellor TV Kattimani; former Director of UP Intermediate Education Krishna Mohan Tripathy; Guwahati-based academician Mazhar Asif; and, educationist M K Sridhar.
Meanwhile, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Prakash Javadekar on Thursday denied news reports that the Committee on New Education Policy (NEP) had, in its recommendations, suggested making Hindi compulsory till class VIIIth.
Taking to the micro blogging site Twitter, Javadekar said, “The Committee on New Education Policy in its draft report has not recommended making any language compulsory. This clarification is necessitated in the wake of mischievous and misleading report in a section of the media.”
Sources in the Ministry said that the Government was “sensitive” with regard to the language question and had asked the Committee to be as sensitive.
“The Government is very clear that it is not going to impose any language on any part of the country,” said the source.
The immediate clarification by the Ministry reflects that the Government looks at the language issue as politically sensitive and one that may hurt its chances in South India in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections. (Courtesy: IE & The Hindu)