Section 29(f) of Chapter V under Right to Education Act, 2009 clearly states that, “medium of instructions shall, as far as practicable, be in child’s mother tongue.” Annpurna Devi, minister of state for education, in a written reply to the Lok Sabha stated at the 17th Lok Sabha monsoon session.
The remark came in response to a question tabled in Lok Sabha on Monday by Malook Nagar and S. Jagathrakshakan, member(s) of parliament.
The monsoon session started on July 18, 2022 and will end on August 13, 2022.
As per the written reply by the minister, education is in the concurrent list of the constitution and majority of the schools are under the domain of the states/union territories (UTs). The reply stated that as envisaged in paragraph 4.11 of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, wherever possible, the medium of instruction until at least grade five, but preferably till grade eight and beyond, is to be the home language/mother tongue/local language/regional language. Thereafter, the home/local language shall continue to be taught as a language wherever possible, it added.
Further, the written reply stated that the NIPUN Bharat Mission of the government of India through its Mission Implementation Guidelines suggests that teaching learning process and development of teaching learning material should be done in mother tongue. Similarly, Vidya Pravesh, a three-month play-based school preparation programme for grade one and NISHTHA FLN (Foundational literacy and Numeracy) have also re-emphasised the same.
According to the statement, there are 28 languages in which students of grades one to five are currently taught. These include Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, English, Bodo, Khasi, Garo, Mizo, French, Hmar, Karbi, Santhali, Bhodi, Purgi.
The statement further noted that the government of India has consulted and taken suggestions from various stakeholders to formulate NEP 2020. Accordingly, the policy was finalised and approved by the Union Cabinet on July 29, 2020.