Prelims level : Governance Mains level : Three Language Formula
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Why in News:

  • The draft national education policy recommends a range of reform measures and favours teaching of Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states. The move is opposed by many states.


  • The draft NEP outlines an ambitious agenda with regard to language teaching, calling for all students from pre-school or Class 1 onwards to be exposed to three or more languages, with the medium of instruction until Class 5 to be the child’s mother tongue or home language. From Class 6 onwards, there can be greater flexibility in the choice of languages
  • This led to outrage in Non-Hindi speaking state of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
  • The Ministry of Human Resource Development on Saturday clarified that it is the draft National Education Policy which has been submitted to the newly appointed HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank by the Chairman Kasturirangan and the members and it is not the policy announced by the government.
  • It added, that after getting feedback from general public, and after consulting State Governments, the National Education Policy will be finalised by Government.

Three language formulae

  • The three-language formula has its roots back in the year 1948 Origins of the Three Language Policy (1948)
  • Recommendations for the use of TLF at the Secondary School level (1952)
  • The Three-Language Formula was devised in the Chief Ministers’ conferences in 1961
  • The Official adoption of TLF (1968)
  • Implementation and reinforcement of TLF (National educational policy documents 1986, 1988, 2000, 2005, 2016). According to the National Education Policy of 1968, three language formulae
  • First language: Mother tongue or the regional language
  • Second language: Modern Indian language or English (in Hindi-speaking areas) or Hindi or English (in Non-Hindi speaking areas)
  • Third language (not studied as the second language): Modern Indian language or English (in Hindi-speaking areas) or Hindi or English (in Non-Hindi speaking areas).

Implementation of three language formulae

  • In 2014, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju has informed the Lok Sabha that the formula has not been implemented effectively. Implementation of the Centre’s Three- Language Formula for schools all over the country has been uneven owing to various interpretations of the formula by different States.
  • All the States, except Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Tripura, have implemented the Three- Language formula and three languages viz. Hindi, English and State official language are taught in the schools of these States. Hindi is not taught in the States of Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Puducherry. In many States, it has been adopted as 3+/-1 formula, and for the speaker of (linguistic) minority languages it has become a four-language formula as they have to learn their mother tongue, the dominant regional language, English and Hindi.
  • In many of the Hindi speaking States Sanskrit became the third language instead of any modern regional language (preferably South Indian language), whereas the non-Hindi speaking State like Tamil Nadu operates through a two-language formula (Tamil and English). The Union Minister said some boards/institutions permit even foreign languages such as Spanish, French and German in place of Hindi or Sanskrit.
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