The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for foundational stage education was released by the Union minister for education last month. The good news for Multilingual Education is that the NCF highly recommends the use of the mother tongue as a medium of instruction in the primary and the pre-primary grades for both public and private schools: “The home language serves as a facilitator for all learning and enables children to form connections with prior learning and home learning.” (P 74). The NCFs are detailed guidelines based on which school syllabi undergo revisions. The first NCF, in 1975, called the mother tongue the child’s “most natural medium of communication.” The NCF 2000 promoted the use of the mother tongue not just in primary school but beyond, throughout one’s education. NCF 2005 said that Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) would “normally be in the child’s ‘first’ language, or home language” should be used for education. Now finally we have reached the point wher
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When I read the news that “Tribal children in Jharkhand get lessons in their own language”, I checked back with my friend Binay Pattanayak (Senior Education Consultant at the World Bank). I was pleased to note that he confirmed that there are indeed things moving there! There has been a push for tribal schools in Jharkhand to use the local languages since 2015. The development of textbooks in 5 tribal languages (Santhali, Mundari, Ho, Kuruh and Kharia) and 2 regional languages (Bangla and Odia) that were published back in 2016 was a step in that direction. In accordance with the NEP, Jharkhand education department now says that children are to be instructed in their mother tongue till the 3rd standard.