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Explained: What is three language formula in draft education plan?


New Delhi, June 02: Language is an extremely sensitive issue and sometimes it can cause irreparable damage when wrongly addressed. The Narendra Modi government seems to have touched a raw nerve when the draft national policy on education has incensed political parties by calling for the adoption of a three-language formula in schools - Hindi, English and the local mother tongue in non-Hindi states.

And it has united leaders from the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) to the Left and actor Kamal Haasan's fledgeling Makkal Needhi Maiam on the issue of Tamil pride. Pro-Tamil parties projected it as a Dravidian versus Aryan fight.

Explained: What is three language formula in draft education plan?

As the row over three-language formula rages in, let us have a look at what the policy says

What is three language formula?

The draft National Education Policy, 2019 available on the government website said the three-language formula will need to be implemented in its spirit throughout the country, promoting multilingual communicative abilities for a multilingual country.

Schools in Hindi speaking areas should also offer and teach Indian languages from other parts of India, it said.

"No language will be imposed on any state": HRD ministry amid uproar in Tamil Nadu over Hindi

The three language formula, followed since the adoption of the National Policy on Education 1968 and endorsed in subsequent years will be continued.

Since research now clearly showed that children picked up languages quickly between the ages of 2 and 8, and moreover that multilingualism has great cognitive benefits to students, children will now be immersed in three languages early on, starting from the foundational stage onwards, it said.

"...students who wish to change one of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6, so long as the study of three languages by students in the Hindi-speaking states would continue to include Hindi and English and one of the modern Indian languages from other parts of India, ... while the study of languages by students in the non-Hindi-speaking states would include the regional language, Hindi and English."

Also, every student will take a fun course on "The Languages of India" sometime in Grades 6-8.

The draft policy said India also has "an extremely rich literature in other classical languages, including classical Tamil, as well as classical Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, and Odia, in addition to Pali, Persian, and Prakrit; these classical languages and their literatures too must be preserved for their richness and for the pleasure and enrichment of posterity."

A choice of foreign languages like French and German, would be offered and available to interested students to choose as electives during secondary school.

Children learn languages extremely quickly when immersed early and multilingual children in studies around the world have also been found to learn faster and be placed better later in life than those who are unilingual, it said.

South states against Hindi imposition

The BJP-led NDA government at the centre still suffers from the perception that it is a party of the Hindi heartland. Issues like imposition of the Hindi language and focus on north Indian states have contributed to this image.

The anti-Hindi agitations beginning as early as 1937 in Tamil Nadu, said since 1968 the State was following the two-language formula of learning only Tamil and English.

And riding on this wave of protests, the DMK rose to power in the 1967 assembly elections. No national political party has since emerged as an alternative to the Dravidian parties of Tamil Nadu.

The issue of Hindi imposition has been a sore point in Tamil Nadu. The Congress lost power and aided the growth of the Dravidian movement courtesy this issue in the late 1960s. Since then, the base of the national parties in Tamil Nadu has steadily eroded.

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