Constitution of India article 29 (1) and Article 350 (A) safeguard the linguistic right of the minority children in school. It is the duty of the state to provide education to the children of linguistic minority children in the school at least in the primary stage.
Article 21 A- Free and compulsory elementary education of equitable quality for all children up to 14 years of age.
Article 29 (1) : Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.
Article 46- State to promote the Educational needs of the weaker sections of the society.
Article 350A: It shall be the endeavor of every State and of every local authority within the State to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups; and the President may issue such directions to any State as he considers necessary or proper for securing the provision of such facilitiesi
The National Policy of Education 1986 has the provision of mother tongue education to the tribal children. The National Curriculum Framework 2005 has also envisages the provision of multilingual education in the schools in the primary stage as well as provide education in first language/ home language to the children.ii The NCF 2005 has spelt out that multilingual education is not a problem but is a resource. Not using the language of the child as the medium of instruction and imagining child centered learning is the paradox in education. This is a trend in the existing education system where the language in education is not considered as prerequisite for any comprehensive learning. The problem is not with the children or the teachers but the problem is with the status planning which addresses the broader questions of language policy , language attitude, choice of dialect/language and officialization and acceptance of a new language .( Walter :2000:7)iii
The National Focus Group of NCF 2005 on Problems of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Children (2007) has clearly spelt out the critique of school curriculum from the perspective of SC/ST groups. It examines the curriculum “ as a mediator of dominance and hegemony and explores ideological issues in the selection of knowledge that have a bearing on education of oppressed groups.xxx
It further explains “In India, curriculum and the content of education have been central to the process of reproduction of patterns of caste, class, cultural and patriarchal domination –subordination. Post independence education policy aimed at nationalization and indigenization of colonial curriculum. But with an ideological context dominated by social , intellectual and economic elites, Brahminical knowledge and pedagogic practice acquired hegemonic status in framing of the curriculum.xxx. This has been evident in the curriculum’s emphasis on ( a) pure language ( b) high caste literary and other knowledge of society, history polity religion and culture that reflects Brahminical worldview.iv (2007:24 Position Paper)
Right to Education Act. Apr 1st, 2010
“... use the mother tongue as far as possible as the medium of instruction “
[Source: Dr Mahendra Mishra, 2010]
i National Commissioner Linguistic Minority :Safeguards: www.nclm.nic.in/index1.asp?linkid=126
ii National Curriculum Framework 2005 , NCERT, New Delhi, 2005
iii Walter ,Stephen L : Explaining Multilingual Education: Information on Some Tough Questions: Work paper of the SIL , University of North Dakota Session 2000 Volume 44( Online URL: http://www.und.edu/dept/linguistics/wp/2000Walter.PDF)
iv Position paper on Ed