The Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre has now tweaked its National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 amid huge outrage over three-language plan that required children in southern Indian states to learn Hindi compulsorily.
NDTV reported that the new draft reads, “In keeping with the principle of flexibility, students who wish to change one or more of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6 or Grade 7, so long as they are able to still demonstrate proficiency in three languages...”
This comes after political parties in Tamil Nadu, including the DMK, on Saturday strongly opposed the three language formula’s continuation with add-on features proposed in the draft National Education Policy alleging it was tantamount to “thrusting” Hindi and wanted it junked.
However, soon after wide spread opposition to the draft, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar had clarified that this was just a draft and nothing had been finalised.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also said on Sunday said state governments will be consulted before a final decision is taken on the issue.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu also appealed to people to study, analyse and debate the Draft New Education Policy and not to come to hasty conclusions.
Protests by TN parties
Noting that core issues of education were very important and deserve the attention of all stakeholders, Stalin said reducing the load of school bags, promoting sports, inculcating morals, scientific and rationale temperament, history among others should become part of the curriculum.
The Tamil Nadu government said it would continue with the two-language formula, seeking to cool frayed tempers.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram in a series of tweets in Tamil said, “what is the meaning of three language formula in schools? The meaning is they will make Hindi a compulsory subject...”
In another tweet, he said “If Hindi language is a compulsory subject its import is imposition of Hindi.”
“The BJP government’s real face is beginning to emerge...” he also tweeted.
Meanwhile, ”#StopHindiImposition, #TNAgainstHindiImposition trended on the microblogging site Twitter.
The three language formula required students to take up Hindi from “pre-school to class 12 was a big shocker.” The recommendation would “divide” the country, DMK chief MK Stalin had said.
The draft policy prepared by a panel led by eminent scientist K Kasturirangan was unveiled on Friday.
Recalling the anti-Hindi agitations beginning as early as 1937 in Tamil Nadu, the DMK leader in a statement here said since 1968 the State was following the two-language formula of learning only Tamil and English.
The DMK would never tolerate imposition of Hindi and strongly oppose it. “Still, I believe that the Central BJP government will not make way for another language stir,” he said.
The Dravidian party also said recommendations like “Gurukula” mode of education, teaching Sanskrit and sending Hindi teachers from Hindi speaking States to non-Hindi speaking States would in due course cause a “big danger” to non-Hindi speaking people.
The recommendations, the DMK said 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.
Recalling Jawaharlal Nehru’s assurance that English would continue to be in use till such time desired by non-Hindi speaking States, he also pointed out that the State had enacted years ago a Compulsory Tamil Learning Act.
Demanding the Centre to reject the draft recommendations which was “imposition,” of Hindi under the garb of three-language formula, he said his party MPs would voice their strong opposition in Parliament as soon as the House was convened.
“There will be no deviation from the two-language formula followed in Tamil Nadu. Only Tamil and English will continue to be taught in our State.””
Taking potshots at the AIADMK for being what it called a “yes master,” to the Centre, he wanted Chief Minister K Palaniswami to strongly oppose it and if not remove the words “Anna,” and “Dravida,” from his party’s name.
The AIADMK is an abbreviation for All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
The BJP must never even dream to implement three language formula in Tamil Nadu and such a “greedy dream,” would lead to “catastrophic,” consequences for them, he said.
Parties including the CPI and BJP’s ally in the Lok Sabha polls, the PMK too alleged the recommendation on the three language formula was “imposition of Hindi” and wanted scrapping it.
Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan said “be it language or a project, if we do not like that, it should not be forced on us.” He said his party would pursue legal options against it.
Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan told Puthiya Thalaimurai Tamil news channel: “There will be no deviation from the two-language formula followed in Tamil Nadu. Only Tamil and English will continue to be taught in our State.”
(with inputs from PTI)