MHRD revises National Education Policy draft amid uproar over imposition of Hindi; new version advocates 3-language formula

Amid the uproar over the draft version of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 which mandated compulsory learning of Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on Monday released a revised version of the policy, modifying the clause.

The revision to the draft comes after many politicians and citizens slammed the government for imposing Hindi, in an alleged attempt to ‘homogenise’ the diverse linguistic fabric of the country which consists of many regional languages, especially down south where they have a prominent presence as a part of the Dravidian identity.

 MHRD revises National Education Policy draft amid uproar over imposition of Hindi; new version advocates 3-language formula

File image of HRD minister Ramesh Pokhiryal. News18

The revised draft states, “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. Since the modular Board examination for language proficiency will indeed test only for basic proficiency in each language, such a change in language choice in Grade 6 would certainly be feasible if the student so desires and would in such cases be supported by teachers and the schooling system. Additional choices of languages would therefore be offered in middle school for this purpose of choice and flexibility."

The revised draft, thus, does not mention which specific languages students must study in the middle school even though it continues to advocate for the three-language formula, stating that it needs to be 'implemented in its spirit throughout the country, promoting multilingual communicative abilities for a multilingual country'.

In the original draft, the three language formula recommended inclusion of English and Hindi besides a mother tongue in the non-Hindi states, while the Hindi-speaking states were required to include English and another Indian language from other parts of India. The earlier policy said that multilingualism is a necessity of India as of much of the developed world and must be considered a boon and an opportunity for learning and expanding one's horizons rather than a burden.

Days after the draft notification caused a furore, the MHRD issued a clarification stating that the document was merely a draft. “It is not the policy announced by government. After getting feedback from the general public, and after consulting state governments, the National Education Policy will be finalised by the government.” the MHRD had clarified. The newly-appointed External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had also said that there will be no imposition of any language without consulting any of the states.

Updated Date: Jun 03, 2019 12:27:06 IST