Draft education policy: Govt revises policy after outrage; Hindi not mandatory

Following severe backlash after the government made a proposal to make Hindi a compulsory language in all non-Hindi speaking states, HRD ministry has altered the policy to say that students are free to choose any language they wish to learn. “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….” stated the revised draft policy.

The revised policy requires proficiency in any three languages and Hindi has not been mentioned in the clause.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday said state governments will be consulted before a final decision is taken on the issue. He tweeted, “The National Education Policy as submitted to the Minister HRD is only a draft report. Feedback shall be obtained from general public. State Governments will be consulted. Only after this the draft report will be finalised. GoI respects all languages. No language will be imposed.”

The earlier draft education policy proposed English and Hindi as mandatory languages in non-Hindi speaking states as well as a third language for Hindi-speaking states. Following the proposal, there was public outcry in Southern states that said that they will not accept Hindi imposition in a state that does not even speak the language.

Hindi imposition continued to trend on social media throughout the day.

The draft education policy also said that the popularity of English in the country is due to the adoption of the language by the ‘economic elite’.  It further added that large sections of the society are marginalised because fluency in English is a criterion to determine if someone is educated.

“A major effort in this direction must be taken by the elite and the educated to make increased use of languages native to India, and give these languages the space and respect that they deserve (particularly in hiring, societal events, and in schools and all educational institutions, as well as in daily conversation wherever possible),” the draft education policy states.