MLE Related Policies
The Constitution in 1950 lists the official languages in the Eighth Schedule. It originally included 14 languages, but more languages were added in 1992 and 2004 and now it includes 22 official languages of the Republic of India. The Constitution also recognises that there are more languages than those 22.
The Three Languages
Starting in 1956, and with extensive revisions in the 1960s, India developed a three-language formula (TLF). It was first incorporated into the National Education Policy in 1968 by the Indira Gandhi government. Originally it meant, ‘In Hindi-speaking states: Hindi, English, and a modern Indian language (preferably one of the southern languages) and in non-Hindi-speaking states: English, Hindi, and the regional language.’ More details are given below
The National Curriculum Framework (NCF)
The National Curriculum Framework 2005 was made to guide the institutions and schools in encouraging the overall development of the children and the move away from textbook-centric learning. It emphasises the importance of imparting primary education in the mother tongue of the child. The 2022 National Curriculum Framework for foundational stages (NCF-FS) under the National Education Policy, 2020 recommends that the mother tongue should be the primary medium of instruction for children till eight years of age.
National Education Policy 2020 (NEP)
NEP focuses on the mother tongue/home language/local language and its importance in education Sec 4. Curriculum and Pedagogy in Schools. NEP says that wherever possible, the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5 will be the home language/mother tongue/local language/regional language.(Sec 4.11) The policy also focuses on teacher recruitment and knowledge of the local language as a plus for teacher recruitments. Section 15.1. States that the ‘Teachers must be grounded in Indian values, languages, knowledge, ethos, and traditions including tribal traditions, while also being well-versed in the latest advances in education and pedagogy.’ Part II 9.3. The policy’s vision includes the following key changes to the current systems. (a) ‘moving towards a higher educational system consisting of large, multidisciplinary universities and colleges, with at least one in or near every district, and with more HEIs(Higher Education Institutions) across India that offer medium of instruction or programmes in local/Indian languages.’
NEP section on Multilingualism and the Power of Language4.11. It is well understood that young children learn and grasp nontrivial concepts more quickly in their home language/mother tongue. Home language is usually the same language as the mother tongue or that which is spoken by local communities. However, at times in multi-lingual families, there can be a home language spoken by other family members which may sometimes be different from mother tongue or local language. Wherever possible, the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond, will be the home language/mother tongue/local language/regional language. Thereafter, the home/local language shall continue to be taught as a language wherever possible. This will be followed by both public and private schools. High-quality textbooks, including in science, will be made available in home languages/mother tongue. All efforts will be made early on to ensure that any gaps that exist between the language spoken by the child and the medium of teaching are bridged. In cases where home language/mother tongue textbook material is not available, the language of transaction between teachers and students will still remain the home language/mother tongue wherever possible. Teachers will be encouraged to use a bilingual approach, including bilingual teaching-learning materials, with those students whose home language may be different from the medium of instruction. All languages will be taught with high quality to all students; a language does not need to be the medium of instruction for it to be taught and learned well.
National Commissioner Linguistic Minority 52 Report- https://www.minorityaffairs.gov.in/sites/default/files/2.%2052nd%20Report%20English.pdf
National Education Policy 2020, Ministry Human Resource Development, GOI National Education Policy 2020