Friday, June 28, 2019

[MLE] Draft National Education Policy

Reading is hard work, particularly in a language you hardly know! (Photo Credit: Business Standard)
This month there were plenty of articles in the newspaper talking about language and education because of the publication of the Draft National Education Policy (NEP) which stated: “Three-language formula will need to be implemented in its spirit throughout the country, promoting multilingual communicative abilities for a multilingual country.” Of course, there was the controversy around the promotion of Hindi, but there were also plenty of references to the value of multilingual education.

Here are a few of the articles that refer to multilingual education:
That the draft NEP is promoting the three-language formula, multilingualism in the classroom and the use of the mother tongue for the basic education is not so new. What for tribal situations would be particularly helpful is the notion that “A teacher will use home language in classroom along with the formal medium of instruction to help children whose home language is different from the medium of instruction.” (Times) It is also good to note that “A new Indian Translation and Interpretation Mission has been conceived to meet needs creating high quality instructional material in home language/mother tongue.” (Times). It would be interesting to see if that would go deeper than state languages and also include the lesser known “home languages”. The Hans India articles recognise that: “It is important that the local languages, including tribal languages, are respected and that excellent textbooks are developed in local languages, when possible, and outstanding teachers are deployed to teach in these languages.” Overall it is good to see the emphasis on multilingualism and the recognition of the home language. Now: Let it be put in practice!

Regards,
Karsten

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