The National Education Policy (NEP) encourages schools to employ mother tongue, local, or regional language as a medium of teaching till Grade V. The Ministry of Education has proposed a scheme called Samagra Shiksha Abhiyaan to hire additional Hindi and Urdu language teachers in states where these languages are not spoken.
According to the plan, Hindi teachers will be available for students in grades I to XII in the north-eastern states and other non-Hindi language states. Similarly, states would be able to hire Urdu professors according to their needs. While bilingual literature and learning materials are to be offered to facilitate the teaching-learning process, the scheme also specifies. According to the source, proposals to introduce Hindi as a language subject in schools have been received from Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram this year, while a proposal to introduce Urdu has been received from Karnataka.
Following approval, states must appoint language teachers based on their needs and who meet the scheme's minimum credentials. “If the teachers achieve the minimum requirements,Teachers should focus on introducing a language through food, music, colour, cinema, and other socially relevant conversations, adds Wattal. “Grammar is just a connection of these words. Thus, teachers should be adept at teaching young kids through social and cultural references,” she says.
Even the availability of language teachers in non-native states for these languages might be an issue, adds Jyoti Arora, principal, Mount Abu Public School, Rohini, Delhi. “I think this is an amazing opportunity for students to become fluent in more than one language. At the same time, care must be taken so that appropriately qualified and trained teachers are appointed,” she says.
Early start required
Sanjeev Kumar Gaur, head of school, GBSSS No 1, Rajouri Garden Extension, New Delhi, says that unless language training starts from the pre-primary level, it will not get the desired results. “We have first-generation learners whose parents are not able to focus on their diction and grammar. Even these children have a problem with being fluent in Hindi, which is our spoken language. Thus, in non-Hindi speaking states, an early start to learning languages becomes a must,” he says.
Wattal feels that in addition to focus on learning foreign languages, Indian languages should also become a priority in schools across the nation. “In addition to imparting students with a feeling of inclusivity when it comes to studying in different states, knowledge of various national languages will also help them get a job in different Indian states,” she adds.