The New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has introduced major reforms in school education that detach high stakes from board examinations, introduce internship invocations for class 6 and reconfigure the pedagogical structure for school education.
The NEP 2020 was announced on Wednesday at a press briefing attended by Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal and Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar.
However, what stands out in the policy is its emphasis on making regional languages the medium of instruction in both public and private schools.
“Wherever possible, the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond, will be the home language, mother tongue, local language or the regional language. Thereafter, the home or local language shall continue to be taught as a language wherever possible. This will be followed by both public and private schools,” the policy states.
Essentially, the policy states that children find it easier to grasp tricky concepts when taught in a language they are more familiar with, that is their mother tongue or their regional language. Therefore, these languages should be made the preferred medium of instruction, although the policy makes it clear that no language should be imposed on anyone.
However, this particular point in the policy has left many confused about what this means for their children's education. For instance, children from multilingual homes, where parents might have different mother tongues, will probably be more comfortable in English which is also universally accepted.
Some also raised concerns about removing English as a primary medium of instruction in schools. A Twitter user said that Indian students who are fluent in English, both written and verbal, have an advantage while seeking jobs. This change in policy might take away that advantage.
My mother tongue is Bangla, my husband’s is Malayalam. Our son hears 4 languages at home. He doesn’t know which one is his ‘mother tongue’
— sanghamitra mazumdar (@sanghamitra_m) July 29, 2020
Who is going to determine mother tongue when our families don’t speak only one language? This is a move to making hindi the national language since that will be the default.
— Kosturi (@55tension) July 30, 2020
So we're back to the "mother tongue or else" idea for schoolchildren?
And how many inbuilt exceptions for the rich, the powerful, the influential?#educationpolicy2020
— Cassandra ranjona banerji: prophet of doom (@ranjona) July 30, 2020
Suppose I live in Kerala and have a kid who learns in Malayalam, ie., she learns Science, Maths and Social Science in Malayalam. When she's in say 4th or 5th, I move to Maharashtra for work. (1/4)
— Alinda Merrie Jan 🌹 (@alindaMjan) July 29, 2020
Whole new market for English education outside schools will develop. The govt may exclude English medium education for primary school children, but let's hope they do not outlaw English completely!
— Jassi Khangura (@JassiKhangura) July 30, 2020
Ofcourse mother tongue should be given enough importance. But making it the medium of instruction will backfire for sure. We live in the era of Internet & English. Why are you trying to restrict children to just one language which they will get fluent anyway.#NewEducationPolicy pic.twitter.com/O9W8NERPO1
— The Saudade Guy🌹 (@arunrajpaul) July 29, 2020
India has an edge over other countries in employability due to our better English. The decision to enforce mother tongue as the medium of instruction till class 5 in the #NewEducationPolicy, may undo this advantage & might hurt the poor who can't afford private tutors for English
— Shama Mohamed (@drshamamohd) July 30, 2020
A Kannadiga marries a Tamilian & has one child, lives in Punjab until the kid is 7 & there has another child & moves to Maharashtra for 5 years & then to Telangana for 5 years.
As usual bravado & chest thumping in policy without practical worry. #NewEducationPolicy
— Nivedith Alva (@nivedithalva) July 30, 2020
However, some were also happy with the move.
"Those who say science cannot be taught in their mother tongue, either don't know their mother tongue or don't understand science." ---Satyendranath Bose— Somesh Upadhyay, IAS (@Somesh_IAS) July 30, 2020
My first impressions on the New Education Policy (NEP): Heavy on processes, light on core issues of cultural deracination. No strategy to instil pride and self-esteem. Introduction of mother tongue in primary classes is welcome, should be mandatory for missionary schools too.— Sanjay Dixit ಸಂಜಯ್ ದೀಕ್ಷಿತ್ संजय दीक्षित (@Sanjay_Dixit) July 29, 2020
Apart from this, the NEP has introduced some other major reforms - which include demolishing the 10+2 school system, changing how board exams are conducted and assessed and stressing on a more knowledge-based system to discourage rote learning.