The Centre on Monday tweaked its draft National Education Policy in the wake of protests against the emphasis on Hindi.
“In keeping with the principle of flexibility, students who wish to change one or more of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6 or Grade 7, so long as they are able to still demonstrate proficiency in three languages,” reads the revised draft, according to NDTV.
A panel of experts led by former Indian Space Research Organisation chief Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan had recommended that students in non-Hindi speaking states learn a regional language, Hindi and English, while students in Hindi-speaking states learn Hindi, English and a modern Indian language from other parts of the country. However, the revised draft does not state which languages students must study in middle school, reported The News Minute.
The DMK welcomed the Centre’s move and said it was a success of former party chief M Karunanidhi’s legacy of opposing “imposition” of Hindi. “At a time when we are celebrating the birth anniversary of Thalaivar [leader] Kalaignar [Karunanidhi], the Central government withdrawing the Hindi compulsory subject clause shows that Kalaignar is living,” said party President MK Stalin. “Let us guard mother Tamil always breaking up the hegemonic imposition of Hindi.”
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena led by Raj Thackeray also criticised the draft education policy. “Hindi is not the national language, do not enforce it on us and incite us,” said party spokesperson Anil Shidore on Twitter.
The Centre, however, has been saying since Saturday that Hindi will not be imposed in schools in Tamil Nadu. “Public feedback will be sought, it is a misunderstanding that it has become a policy,” Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal had said. Union minister Prakash Javadekar and Union Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar also assured that the government does not want to impose any language on anybody.