CBSE urges affiliated schools to adopt Indian languages as optional instruction mediums, promoting diversity and academic quality from pre-primary to Class 12.
Linguistic Diversity and Academic Success
Joseph Emmanuel, Director (Academics) at CBSE, highlights the significance of multilingual education in promoting linguistic diversity, cultural understanding, and students’ academic achievements. The 2020 National Education Policy (NEP) underscores the cognitive benefits of multilingualism for young learners, particularly when exposed to multiple languages from an early stage. The NEP specifically emphasizes using the mother tongue or regional language as a medium of instruction, at least until Grade 5, and preferably extending to Grade 8 and beyond.
Challenges and Implementation
While utilizing the mother tongue as a medium of instruction offers numerous benefits, it also presents challenges. These challenges include the availability of skilled teachers capable of teaching in multilingual settings, the creation of high-quality multilingual textbooks, and time constraints, especially in two-shift government schools.
NCERT’s Crucial Role
A significant step toward overcoming these challenges is the Ministry of Education’s directive to the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to develop textbooks in the 22 Scheduled Languages of India. NCERT is diligently prioritizing this task to ensure that the textbooks are ready for distribution in the upcoming academic sessions, allowing students access to quality learning materials in their mother tongue.
Expanding Beyond School Education
The CBSE’s letter also highlights efforts to introduce textbooks in Indian languages for higher education, enhance learning-teaching processes, and conduct examinations in Indian languages. Fields such as technical education, medical education, vocational education, skill education, and law education are all undergoing a transformation to provide content in Indian languages, enabling a seamless transition from school to higher education.
Schools Paving the Way
CBSE emphasizes schools’ role in establishing multilingual education’s foundation, stressing continuity from school to higher education for language proficiency. This proactive approach, aligned with NEP, promotes linguistic diversity, and quality textbooks, and empowers students with holistic language skills.