July 26, 2023, 10:13 pm
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has allowed schools to offer education in India languages right from pre-primary to Class 12.
The National Education Policy 2020 emphasizes on the significant cognitive advantages of multilingualism for young learners, particularly when they are exposed to multiple languages from foundational stage, with a specific focus on their mother tongue. The policy strongly advocates for utilizing the home language, mother tongue, local language, or regional language as the medium of instruction whenever feasible, at least until Grade 5, but preferably extending till Grade 8 and beyond.
The implementation of multilingual education and the utilization of the mother tongue as a medium of instruction present several challenges including the availability of skilled teachers capable of teaching in multilingual settings, the creation of high-quality multilingual textbooks, and the limited time available, especially in two-shift government schools, as multilingual education demands additional instructional time allocation.
One of the major steps taken now is the direction by the Ministry of Education to NCERT for preparing new textbooks through 22 scheduled Indian languages. The NCERT has taken this serious task on highest priority so that textbooks in 22 scheduled languages can be made available to all students from next sessions.
Till now, the mediums of instruction in CBSE schools were English and Hindi.
Apart from NCERT school textbooks in Indian languages, CBSE said that with “Higher Education has also started gearing up to produce textbooks through Indian languages, and initiate learning-teaching process through Indian language mediums in addition to English medium, and to conduct examination through Indian languages as well”. The textbooks in technical education, medical education, vocational education, skill education, law education, etc. are now coming through Indian languages.
Since higher education has started responding to this need then school education has to become its foundation. The approach towards medium of instruction should be a continuity from school education to higher education. Therefore, the schools affiliated to CBSE need to play a vital role in this great endeavour by offering education through Indian languages.
Multilingual education has been widely recognized as a valuable approach to fostering linguistic diversity, cultural understanding, and academic success among students.