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'Medium of Instruction in Tribal Areas Should be Mother Tongue'

Union minister Upendra Kushwaha at the inauguration of a new All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) building in Delhi/Photo Courtesy: Twitter

Union minister Upendra Kushwaha at the inauguration of a new All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) building in Delhi/Photo Courtesy: Twitter

Medium of instruction in tribal areas should be, as far as practical, the mother tongue of the child, Minister of State HRD Upendra Kushwaha has said.

New Delhi: Medium of instruction in tribal areas should be, as far as practicable, the mother tongue of the child, Minister of State HRD Upendra Kushwaha has said.

The minister was responding to a question raised by Rajya Sabha member from Tripura, Jharna Das Baidya.

Section 29(2) (f) of The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, states that “medium of instructions shall, as far as practicable, be in child’s mother tongue”. The National Curriculum Framework (NCF), 2005, emphasises the importance of imparting primary education in the mother tongue of the child.

Education as a subject is in the Concurrent List, so States have the liberty to decide the medium of instruction in schools. Several states have taken steps to impart education in their mother tongue.

The NCF clearly states that the “Three-Language Formula” is an attempt to address the challenges and opportunities of the linguistic situation in India. As per the “Three Language Formula”, the first language to be studied must be the mother tongue or the regional language.

Also, through Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), the HRD recognises the intra-regional, inter-state disparities. It is supporting States/UTs to improve the infrastructure of schools in tribal areas, the minister informed.

One of the crucial steps taken in this direction is the identification of Special Focus Districts (SFDs) - concentration of Scheduled Tribe (ST) population is an important identification criterion. A total of 109 districts have been identified as ST concentration districts.

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs administers a programme under Article 275(1) of the Constitution as well, as stated by the minister, which gives grants to 27 states to set up Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs) for quality education to ST students.

Funds are also released for the infrastructural purpose of tribal residential schools, including hostels under Article 275(1) of the Constitution, and Special Central Assistance to Tribal Sub-Plan.

first published:March 23, 2017, 18:22 IST