The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is advocating to its affiliated schools to take up the multilingual education and use mother tongue as a medium of instruction.
In a letter addressed to all its affiliated schools, Dr Joseph Emmanuel, director, academics, CBSE, says that multilingual education promotes linguistic diversity which improves cultural understanding.
He refers to National Education Policy 2020 and its paragraph 4.12 for the significant cognitive advantages of multilingualism to young learners to go with specific focus on their mother tongue. This must extend up to Class 5 and if feasible, up to Class 8 and beyond, the letter states.
There is of course a need for skilled teachers in multilingual settings, the creation of high-level multilingual texts, and the daunting prospect of going beyond the two-shift schools as teaching multilingualism would require additional hours.
In view of the above, the Ministry of Education, Government of India, has taken several measures. One of the measures is that the Ministry of Education has directed the NCERT to prepare new textbooks through 22 scheduled Indian languages. This is being given high priority so that such books are available from next sessions.
Higher Education has started gearing up to produce textbooks through Indian languages, and initiate learning-teaching process through Indian languages medium in addition to English medium, and to conduct examination through Indian languages as well. The textbooks in technical, medical, vocational, skill and law education are now coming through Indian languages.
The letter concludes by urging the CBSE-affiliated schools to use Indian languages, as enumerated in the Schedule 8 of the Indian Constitution, as the medium of education through the foundational stage till the end of Secondary Stage, i.e. from pre-primary classes till Class XII as an optional medium in addition to other existing options. Schools may explore the available resources, consult with experts in the field, and collaborate with other schools to share best practices to make multilingual education in CBSE schools a reality.