Education in Regional Languages – UPSC GS2

  • A Task Force has been setup to prepare a roadmap on imparting technical education in mother tongue.
  • Aim of this task force is to achieve the Prime Minister’s vision that students may pursue the professional courses such as medicine, engineering, law, etc in their mother tongue.
  • NEP 2020 with “Three Language Formula” also recommends the medium of instruction to be in the home language/mother-tongue/local language or regional language in primary classes.
  • Since colonial times, all committees and commissions recognized the importance of education in the mother tongue. Its proponents include Elphinstone’s Minute of 1824, Macaulay’s Minute of 1835, and Wood’s Dispatch of 1854.
  • UNESCO declared in 1953 to use mother tongue for the conceptual clarity and cognitive growth of students
  • Even NEP 1986, plan of action 1992, NCF 2005, RTE 2009 also highlighted the importance of mother tongue in education. However, they did nothing to fill the quality gap between English-medium schools and non-English medium schools.
Why education should be imparted in regional languages?
  • Enhances formative learning: It has been observed that the human mind is more receptive to communication in the language in which it is accustomed to thinking from childhood.
  • Practiced by Many Countries: Ex. France, Germany, China, Russia, Japan etc.
  • Creates Inclusion: It will help in social inclusiveness, improving literacy rates, reduction in poverty and international cooperation. Language can become a catalyst for inclusive development. Removal of the existing linguistic barriers will help in realizing the goal of inclusive governance.
Government Initiatives to Promote Regional Languages:
  • National Education Policy 2020 promotes education in regional languages.
  • The Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology (CSTT) is providing publication grants towards the publications of University Level Books in regional languages.
  • The National Translation Mission (NTM) is being implemented through the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysore under which the text books of various subjects prescribed in Universities and Colleges are being translated in all languages of the Eighth Schedule.
  • The Government of India is running a scheme known as “Protection and Preservation of Endangered Languages” for conservation of threatened languages.
Challenges: Providing technical education in regional languages requires teachers proficient in undertaking classes in the vernacular medium along with English, textbooks and reference materials in regional languages, besides technological assistance such as audio translation aids.

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