New Delhi: NCERT Director D P Saklani has criticised parents’ persistent fascination with English-medium schools, noting that many lack trained teachers. He described this preference as “no less than suicide,” emphasizing that government schools now offer quality education. Saklani pointed out in an interview with PTI that the trend of cramming content in English has resulted in a significant loss of knowledge among children and has distanced them from their cultural roots.

“Parents are obsessed with English-medium schools, they prefer to send their children to such schools even if there are no teachers or they are not trained enough. This is not less than suicide and this why the new (national) education policy has stressed upon teaching in mother tongue,” he said.

“Why should teaching be matrabhasha adharit (based on mother tongue)? Because till then we will not understand our own mother, our roots, how will we understand anything? And multilingual approach is not like teaching in any language is being ended, the push is to learn multiple languages,” Saklani added.

“We are now developing primers in 121 languages which will be ready this year and will help in connecting school-going children to their roots,” he said.

“We start cramming up in English and that is where there is knowledge loss. Language should be an enabling factor, it should not disable. So far we have been disabled and now through multilingual education we are trying to enable ourselves,” Saklani added.

The new National Education Policy (NEP) notified in 2020 recommended that, wherever possible, the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5 should be the home language, mother tongue, local language, or regional language. The policy suggests that teaching in the mother tongue should ideally continue until Grade 8 and beyond, with the home or local language continuing as a language of instruction wherever feasible.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had emphasized last year that the use of the mother tongue in education represents a “new form of justice” for students in India, calling it a “very significant step” towards social justice. However, the move has attracted criticism from various stakeholders and opposition parties, though the education ministry has maintained that no language is being imposed on anyone.

Also Read: NCERT Replaces ‘Azad Pakistan’ With ‘POJK’, Adds Chinese Aggression Reference In Class 12 Political Science Book

According to the new National Curriculum Framework (NCF), notified last year, students in classes 9 and 10 will now be required to study three languages, including two Indian native ones, while students in classes 11 and 12 will study one Indian language and one other language.

The NCERT is currently at the center of a controversy regarding the revised Class 12 political science textbook, which no longer mentions the Babri Masjid but instead refers to it as a “three-domed structure.” The latest deletions in the textbooks include references to BJP’s ‘rath yatra’ from Somnath in Gujarat to Ayodhya, the role of kar sevaks, communal violence following the demolition of the Babri Masjid, President’s rule in BJP-ruled states, and the BJP’s expression of “regret over the happenings at Ayodhya.”

Additionally, the new Class 11 political science textbook now states that political parties “give priority to the interests of a minority group” with an eye on “vote bank politics,” which leads to “minority appeasement.” This marks a significant shift from the previous academic session’s content, which suggested that if students “think hard,” they would find “little evidence” to support the idea that vote bank politics favors minorities in the country.

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