Education as topic has to be studied from two dimensions. One from the angle of Society and the other from the point of Polity. The policy becomes important in the context of rejecting the earlier report by TSR Subramaniam committee. And the contentious issue of Hindi language has to be focused on in the new policy.
Draft proposal on New Education Policy
Placing it in the syllabus
- Historical perspective: Anti-Hindi protests in Tamil Nadu
- Constitutional provisions regarding Hindi language
- Provisions of the National Education Policy-2019
- Criticisms : one language policy
- Revised draft by MHRD
Historical perspective: Anti-Hindi protests in Tamil Nadu
These anti-Hindi imposition agitations were a series of agitations that occurred during both pre- and post-independence periods in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu (formerly Madras State and part of Madras Presidency). Following are the key events related to such protests;
- In 1937, the first anti-Hindi imposition agitation was launched in opposition to the introduction of compulsory teaching of Hindi by the first Indian National Congress government led by C. Rajagopalachari in the Madras presidency schools.This move was immediately opposed by E. V. Ramasamy (Periyar) and the opposition Justice Party (later Dravidar Kazhagam).
- But after Independence Hindi was adopted as the official language of India with English continuing as an associate official language for a period of fifteen years, after which Hindi would become the sole official language.
- Efforts by the Indian Government to make Hindi the sole official language after 1965 were not acceptable to many non-Hindi Indian states, who wanted the continued use of English. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a descendant of Dravidar Kazhagam, led the opposition to Hindi. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru enacted the Official Languages Act in 1963 to ensure the continuing use of English beyond 1965.
- In 1965 as the day of switching over to Hindi as sole official language approached, the anti-Hindi movement gained momentum in Madras State with increased support from college students. In the same year a full-scale riot broke out in the southern city of Madurai, sparked off by a minor altercation between agitating students and Congress party members. Finally to calm the situation, Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri gave assurances that English would continue to be used as the official language as long as the non-Hindi speaking states wanted.
- In 1967, to guarantee the indefinite use of Hindi and English as official languages the congress government headed by Indira Gandhi amended the official Languages Act.
Constitutional provisions regarding Hindi language
Following are the constitutional provisions related to Hindi language;
- Article 343: It mentions that the official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script. The form of numerals to be used for the official purposes of the Union shall be the international form of Indian numerals.
- Article 346: it mentions about the official language for communication between the states and between a state and the Union. The Article also states that the “authorised” language will be used. However, if two or more states agree that their communications shall be in Hindi, then Hindi may be used.
- Article 351: It mentions directive for development of the Hindi language It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule.
Provisions of the National Education Policy-2019
recently , the committee headed by Dr. K Kasturirangan submitted theDraft New Education Policy 2019, following are the key highlights of the policy:
- The policy mentions that students in Hindi-speaking states should learn a modern Indian language, apart from Hindi and English and, in non-Hindi-speaking states, Hindi along with the regional language and English.
- The draft National Education Policy 2019 is built on the foundational pillars of ‘Access, Equality, Affordability, and Accountability. The committee has proposed to rename the Ministry of Human Resource Development as Ministry of Education.
- The draft report proposes overhauling the education structure and extending Right to Education or RTE to Class 12.
- With respect to school education, it proposes a major reconfiguration of curricular and pedagogical structure with Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) as an integral part of school education
- It also recommends the extension of Right to Education Act 2009 to cover children of ages 3 to 18.
- It proposes the schools to be reorganised into school complexes. It also seeks to reduce the content load in the school education curriculum.
- According to the policy, there will be no hard separation of learning areas in terms of curricular, co-curricular or extra-curricular areas and all subjects, including arts, music, crafts, sports, yoga, community service, etc., will be curricular.
- The draft promotes active pedagogy that will focus on the development of core capacities, life skills, including 21st-century skills.
- It proposes for massive transformation in teacher education by shutting down sub-standard teacher education institutions and moving all teacher preparation or education programmes into large multidisciplinary universities/colleges.
- It mentions that the four-year integrated stage-specific BEd programme will eventually be the minimum degree qualification for teachers.
- With regard to higher education, it proposes a restructuring of higher education institutions with three types of higher education institutions which is:
- Focused on world-class research and high-quality teaching.
- Focused on high-quality teaching across disciplines with significant contribution to research, and high-quality teaching focused on undergraduate education.
- This will be driven by two missions — Mission Nalanda and Mission Takshashila. There will be re-structuring of Undergraduate programs. For example, BSc, BA, B Com, B Voc of three or four years of duration and having multiple exits and entry options.
- It proposes a new apex body, Rashtriya Shiksha Ayog to enable a holistic and integrated implementation of all educational initiatives and programmatic interventions and to coordinate efforts between the Centre and the States.
- It also proposes the National Research Foundation, an apex body for creating a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.
- It mentions the four functions of Standard setting, Funding, Accreditation and Regulation to be separated and conducted by independent bodies such as:
- National Higher Education Regulatory Authority as the only regulator for all higher education including professional education.
- Creation of accreditation eco-system led by revamped NAAC.
- Professional Standard Setting Bodies for each area of professional education and UGC to transform to Higher Education Grants Commission (HEGC).
- As per the draft policy, the private and public institutions will be treated on par and education will remain a ‘not for profit’ activity.
- Several new policy initiatives for promoting internationalisation of higher education, strengthening quality open and distance learning, technology integration at all levels of education, adult and lifelong learning and initiatives to enhance participation of under-represented groups, and eliminate gender, social category, and regional gaps in education outcomes are recommended.
- It also recommended for promotion of Indian and classical languages and setting up three new national institutes for Pali, Persian, and Prakrit and an Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITI) .
Criticisms : One language policy
- Parties in Tamil Nadu including the DMK in June strongly opposed the continuation of the three-language formula proposed in the draft National Education Policy 2019 alleging it was tantamount to “thrusting” Hindi.
- It is also criticised by the DMK of Tamil Nadu that the three-language formula, which bats for Hindi from pre-school to class 12 was a big shocker, and the recommendation would divide the country.
- The DMK also said that rather than lifting the standards of education has led to doubts that it had “ulterior motives” like imposition of Hindi on non-Hindi speaking States and thrusting Sanskrit in schools.
- Many have even mentioned that if Hindi is to be imposed on non-Hindi states then the Hindi speaking states should be imposed with other languages.
Revised draft by MHRD
- Recently the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has come up with the revised draft of National Education Policy (NEP) 2019, which suggests giving flexibility over choice of language under the three language model in schools after protests over Hindi imposition in non-Hindi speaking states.
- The revised draft mentions that since the modular Board examinations for language proficiency will indeed test only for basic proficiency in each language, such a change in choice in Grade 6 would certainly be feasible if the student so desires and would in such cases be supported by teachers and the schooling system.
- The revised draft further added, the additional choices of languages would therefore be offered in middle school for this purpose of choice and flexibility.
- This revised draft comes after much hue and cry over Hindi imposition in schools in the non-Hindi speaking states, Tamil Nadu being one.