Days after widespread outcry over the draft version of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 for making Hindi compulsory in non-Hindi speaking states, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on Monday released a revised draft removing any reference to ‘Hindi’.
The revised draft says, “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 (one language at the literature level) in their modular Board Examinations some time during secondary school (see P4.9.5).”
The revised draft does not mention any specific language for study by students in school.
The Kasturirangan Committee had recommended the teaching of Hindi, English and one regional language in the non-Hindi states; and Hindi, English and one modern Indian language from other parts of the country in Hindi-speaking states.
The draft national education policy report of the K Kasturirangan Committee has invoked apprehensions from various segments of the society including politicians.
Leaders of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and Congress lawmaker from Kerala Shashi Tharoor had issued warnings against the forced imposition of the Hindi language on South Indian states.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu too had urged all stakeholders to go through the entire report, instead of reacting hastily.
Earlier, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that only after hearing public opinion the draft policy will be implemented. “Only to nurture all Indian languages PM launched EkBharatSreshthaBharat. The Centre would support to honour and develop the ancient Tamil language,” she said in a tweet.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar too voiced a similar view in a tweet saying that the National Education Policy as submitted to the Minister HRD is “only a draft report”.
However, earlier the central government had said it had not taken a decision on the draft education policy and had no intentions to impose any language.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Javadekar had clarified in New Delhi on Saturday that the draft report was a recommendation and not a policy, and that “all Indian languages will be promoted”.