New Delhi: No language is being imposed in the new National Education Policy and a flexible approach has been proposed with the three-language formula, according to the policy drafting panel chief K Kasturirangan. 

The former ISRO Chief who was tasked with drafting the new policy, says “adopting local languages as the medium of instruction till Class 5 is important in the early phase of education because the child’s strengths in understanding the principles and in displaying creativity manifests better in the mother tongue as well in the local language”.

The policy was approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday. As per the policy, the medium of instruction until at least class 5, but preferably till class 8 and beyond, will be the home language, mother tongue, local language, and regional language.

“Children have a great ability to pick up multiple languages in early age. The policy talks about a flexible approach in the three-language formula. How it will be implemented in states it’s their decision. No language is being imposed in the policy,” he said.

“We have suggested that the mother tongue or the local language or regional language, one of them could be the choice for the medium of instruction. Experts have found when a child is born he starts learning in his home language. It is not just in our country, in countries like France and Germany and even Nobel laureates have admitted that their knowledge of science or any other subject has been better when they studied it in their language,” he added.

Teaching up to class 5 in mother tongue or regional language, lowering the stakes of board exams, a single regulator for higher education institutions except for law and medical colleges and common entrance tests for universities are part of the sweeping reforms in the new National Education Policy (NEP) unveiled on Wednesday.

Replacing the 10+2 structure of school curricula with a 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to age groups 3-8, 8-11, 11-14 and 14-18 years respectively, scrapping M.Phil programmes and implementing common norms for private and public higher education institutions are among other salient features of the new policy.

The NEP approved by the Union Cabinet at a meeting presided by Prime Minister Narendra Modi replaces the 34-year-old National Policy on Education framed in 1986 and is aimed at paving the way for transformational reforms in school and higher education systems to make India a global knowledge superpower.

“The policy has been prepared after widespread consultations and concerns arising due to economic as well as demographical disparities have also been addressed,” he added.

In May 2016, a ‘Committee for Evolution of the New Education Policy’ under the chairmanship of TSR Subramanian, former cabinet secretary, submitted its report. Based on this, the Ministry prepared a document called ‘Some Inputs for the Draft National Education Policy, 2016’.

Then, a panel led by Kasturirangan had submitted the draft of the new NEP to Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ when he took charge last year.

The draft was then put in the public domain to seek feedback from various stakeholders and over two lakh suggestions were received by the HRD Ministry about the same. 

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