In a significant development, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has taken a major step by permitting affiliated schools to adopt the mother tongue as an alternative medium of instruction. This change applies to students from the pre-primary stages all the way up to Class 12. This decision is expected to provide more flexibility and inclusivity in the education system, enabling students to learn and excel in their native language if they choose to do so. By allowing the use of mother tongues as a medium of instruction, the CBSE aims to promote regional languages and preserve cultural diversity within the educational landscape.
The National Education Policy (NEP) of 2020 places a strong emphasis on the substantial cognitive benefits of multilingualism, especially when introduced to young learners right from the foundational stage. The policy highlights the importance of incorporating multiple languages into the curriculum, with a particular focus on the students' native language.
"The implementation of multilingual education and the utilization of the mother tongue as a medium of instruction present several challenges including the availability of skilled teachers capable of teaching in multilingual settings, the creation of high-quality multilingual textbooks, and the limited time available, especially in two-shift government schools, as multilingual education demands additional instructional time allocation." - CBSE issued notice regarding the same.
Under the directive of the Ministry of Education, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has been entrusted with the responsibility of creating new textbooks in the 22 scheduled Indian Languages. This crucial initiative aims to ensure that all students have access to textbooks in their respective mother tongues. The NCERT has prioritized this task, giving it the highest importance, with the goal of making these textbooks available to students from the upcoming academic sessions.
In line with this approach, higher education institutions have taken proactive measures to develop textbooks in Indian languages and facilitate the learning and teaching process in addition to English. Additionally, they are considering the incorporation of Indian languages in examination procedures.
Furthermore, this inclusive effort extends to various fields of study, such as technical, medical, vocational skills, law, and more. For students pursuing these disciplines, textbooks will also be meticulously prepared in Indian languages, thereby fostering a conducive learning environment that caters to linguistic diversity and enables students to excel in their chosen fields with ease.
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