Priyanka SaurabhThe Union Cabinet recently approved the new National Education Policy 2020 to bring “large-scale transformational reforms” in both school and higher education. The new education policy for the country came after about 34 years. It has brought something new to the existing education system. In the new National Education Policy 2020, it is decided to make home language, mother tongue, or regional language as the medium of education up to class 5. Experts believe that it can create long term effects in nation-building. Providing school education in the mother tongue or regional language can bring a drastic change in the ongoing process of human resource development.Analysts believe that regional languages help to increase human values and feelings and that learning the mother tongue will help future generations make connections with their social and cultural fabric. Early schooling in a child’s mother tongue, as recommended in the new National Education Policy, can improve learning, increase student participation, and reduce worldwide burdens. However, this will require new books, new teacher training, and more funding, moreover, given the plurality of languages and dialects in India, it can be used as a medium of instruction in an area in which it is difficult to work in other languages.The National Education Policy (NEP) states that the medium of instruction in schools up to grade V should be mother tongue or local or regional language wherever possible. “All efforts will be made to ensure that there are no gaps between the language spoken by the child and the medium of teaching. In the early school years, the child’s most comfortable use of the language will be its school attendance and learning outcomes. Studies around the world also find that it increases class participation, reduces the number of dropouts and grade repetitions.It also provides an opportunity to familiarize themselves with social and cultural identity. Despite this, not all children in low and middle-income countries are taught in the language they speak. Today’s parents prefer to send their children to ‘English-medium’ schools, regardless of the quality of education, believing that English language mastery ensures success in later life. For example, in 2017-18, about 14 per cent of the people enrolled children in private schools in rural areas of India and 19.3 per cent in urban areas chose a private school because there was a medium of English education.Experts argue that English education is not always the best. Anyone can learn to read and write best in the language you know from day one. Good education occurs when children have high self-esteem, they are well adjusted in the classroom which provides a positive and fear-free environment. If the child is taught in a language that they do not understand, then nothing will happen.In 2019, in rural India, only 16.2 per cent of children enrolled in grade I can read grade I-level lessons, while only 39.5 per cent can add single-digit numbers. The 2011 census listed 270 mother tongues; Of these, as per the 2017 study, 47 languages were used as a medium of instruction in Indian classrooms.But we cannot even consider teaching in the mother tongue to solve the problem of low learning outcomes. For multilingual education to be successful there should be educational change and trained teachers who can deal with multiple languages in the classroom and teach in the child’s mother tongue. The idea of using the mother tongue as a medium of instruction in primary school is not new to the Indian education system. Article 350A of the constitution states that every state and local authority should strive to provide “adequate facilities for education in the mother tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups”.The Kothari Commission Report on Education and National Development (1964-66) suggested that in tribal areas, for the first two years of school, the medium of instruction and books should be in the local tribal language. The regional language should be taught separately and should become the medium of instruction by the third year. The Right to Education Act, 2009 also stated that as far as possible, the medium of instruction in school should be the mother tongue of the child.There are many languages in India, with 270 mother tongues identified in the 2011 census and classrooms may contain children with more than one spoken language. It may not be possible for all languages to become the medium of instruction and it may not be possible to implement it in large parts of the country.The initial investment in bilingual programmes may be higher because of the additional cost of developing new learning materials, especially for languages that are not standardized or that do not have scripts. This will require trained teachers to teach in a multilingual classroom and new teachers fluent in these languages. Since education is a concurrent subject, most states have their school boards. Therefore, state governments have to come forward for the actual implementation of this decision.The new National Education Policy 2020 aims at holistic development in the educational and co-educational domains of every student and emphasizes educating students, teachers, and parents to nurture their potential to serve the nation. In some schools across the country for about three-four years, trying out the new model, identifying the problems encountered in implementation and the cost of change, and then preparing an action plan to solve these problems.This will prove to be extremely beneficial in removing hierarchies and barriers between different knowledge streams by providing easy and accessible methods.Studying in the mother tongue will help replace the rote method of learning and examination-based learning with a home system based on conceptual understanding. The purpose of which is to improve the student’s cognitive skills in his language, so that he cannot be burdened with other languages and complete his primary education with fervor. On this Hindi Day, we should promote this thing vigorously so that parents do not push their children to send them to the English Medium schools. We have to break the notion that today’s parents prefer to send their children to ‘English-medium’ schools, regardless of the quality of education, assuming that English language mastery ensures success in later life.
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