Several of us have had input in the drafting of the Early Childhood Care and Education policy (ECCE) on request by the Women and Child Development Ministry. It clearly states at several places that the use of the mother tongue of the children is the preferred medium. E.g.:
This weekend the policy hit the press with the language issue in focus. Yesterday on the front page of the Delhi version of the Indian Express was an article titled: "Govt wants Playschools to mind Language, go Vernacular" and today a similar article was published: Speaking in Tongues.The mother tongue or home language of the child will be the primary language of interaction in the ECCE programmes. However, given the young child‟s ability at this age to learn many languages, exposure to the national/regional language and English in oral form as required, will also be explored.
Unfortunately, as newspapers tend to do, the articles look for controversy rather than consensus. The articles contrasts the use of the vernacular with English instead of emphasising that the policy, at least from my perspective, tries to keep them in parallel. Let us see if other media will be picking this up also and report on it in a more balanced fashion. (Note: Last week The Times of India had an article on Centre plans to regulate playschools, creches, which did not mention the language issue at all!)