The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has asked its schools to consider using Indian languages as optional medium of instruction to make multilingual education a reality.
Schools affiliated to the CBSE has now an option of teaching in regional languages from pre-primary to Class 12. Till now, CBSE schools could teach only either in English or Hindi, unlike state board schools that can teach in English, Hindi or a state language.
The CBSE’s announcement is in line with the government’s push for the National Education Policy (NEP).
The University Grants Commission (UGC) had recently come up with a similar circular for higher education.
“This is a historic decision and will open a world of opportunities for many children, besides Indianising teaching and learning systems in the country,” Chamu Krishna Shastry, head of the high-powered Bharatiya Bhasha Samiti for the promotion of Indian languages under the Education Ministry, told NDTV today.
“With the UGC too making professional education available in regional languages and now CBSE doing the same for school education, this is a historic move for progress in implementing the NEP,” Mr Shastry said.
The NEP aims to address the growing developmental needs of India, and proposes the revision and revamping of all aspects of education, including its regulation and governance, to create a new system that is aligned with the aspirational goals of the country.
Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in a tweet congratulated CBSE. “This is a laudatory step towards encouraging education in mother tongue and Indian languages in schools,” he said.
#3yearsofNEP#NEP2020 emphasizes the importance and cognitive benefits of multilingualism for young students. Use of Indian languages as an alternative medium of instructions from primary classes to class 12 has been reiterated in this important circular of CBSE. pic.twitter.com/RZrmrPPMqa
— CBSE HQ (@cbseindia29) July 21, 2023
In the circular, the CBSE noted the challenges posed by the implementation of multilingual education and use of mother tongue as a medium of instruction, which include availability of skilled teachers capable of teaching multilingual subjects, the creation of high-quality multilingual textbooks and time limitation, especially in two-shift government schools.
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