Attempt To Make Hindi A Compulsory Language In Schools All Over India Was A Bad Idea

In the recent language row, the National Education Policy (NEP) made Hindi a mandatory language in schools even in South. Finally, this draft has been scrapped.

It is an established fact that mother language eases the comprehension of subject matter. But in India there are many vernacular languages that dominate Hindi when it comes to mother language. Hindi is only the second mother language. So a student has to learn at least 3 or 4 languages viz. a vernacular, Hindi, English and sometimes other Indian languages like Sanskrit. I think language, except for higher studies, is not “education”—they are just a way of communication and presentation. More languages will take unnecessary time and effort.

If you take the example of countries around the world you will find that most of them give emphasis on two languages. In the U.S. it’s English and Spanish, in Japan it’s Japanese and English, and so on. They primarily emphasize on the study of one language and the other is a second language.

In India, there are three problems related to languages before the government. First is to make the curriculum easily comprehensible for the young minds. Second is to save the rich lingual past—as some languages are at the brink of extinction. India has multiple languages and dialects; saving them is necessary but a herculean task. Third is to develop a lingua-franca for the country. And obviously Hindi is best possible option. But why did the government not share this dilemma with the public? I think people would definitely coöperate.

Government must initiate a “library mission” to open a library in each village with books of different languages. They should let the system run as it is, and not put extra burden on school children. The government should instead try to inculcate a reading habit among children who spend more time on the digital screens these days.

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