CBSE asks schools to consider Indian languages as teaching medium
The board has asked schools to explore the available resources, consult with experts in the field, and collaborate with other schools to share best practices
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Friday asked its affiliated schools to consider providing the option of Indian languages mentioned in Schedule 8 of the Constitution as a medium of instruction, in addition to the existing options, from pre-primary classes to Class 12.
The move is a part of the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which envisages the use of mother tongue or regional or Indian languages as the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, and preferably till Grade 8 and beyond. The policy also recommends promoting multilingualism among students.
In a letter sent to the heads of all its affiliated schools, CBSE director (academics) Joseph Emmanuel said that there were many challenges to the implementation of multilingual education and the use of the mother tongue as a medium of instruction in terms of skilled teachers, and high-quality multilingual textbooks, the Union ministry of education has taken several steps to actualise education in Indian languages on the ground.
“One of the major steps taken now is the direction by the ministry of education to NCERT to prepare new textbooks in 22 scheduled Indian languages. NCERT has taken this serious task on highest priority so that textbooks in 22 scheduled languages can be made available to all students from next sessions,” he wrote.
Emmanuel further said that several such steps have also been taken in the higher education sector. “The approach towards the medium of instruction should be a continuity from school education to higher education. Therefore, the schools affiliated with CBSE need to play a vital role in this great endeavour by offering education through Indian languages,” he said.
“In view of the above initiatives taken to facilitate education through Indian languages, the CBSE affiliated schools may consider using Indian languages, as enumerated in Schedule 8 of the Indian Constitution, as the medium of Instruction from 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,” Emmanuel added.
The board has asked schools to explore the available resources, consult with experts in the field, and collaborate with other schools to share best practices.
Sudha Acharya, chairperson of the National Progressive School Conference (NPSC) — it has more than 120 Delhi schools as its members -- and principal of ITL Public School, Dwarka, welcomed the initiative. “When children come to us in nursery school they are comfortable in their own language. In our school, we have started an initiative from this year under which every student has to learn at least one Indian language from Class 1 onwards. They will not have to pass any exam but it is just to learn the beauty of different Indian languages,” she said.
Jyoti Arora, principal of Mount Abu Public School, said, “By embracing Indian languages as a medium of instruction from the foundational stage to the end of secondary education, we are fostering an inclusive learning environment that celebrates our rich heritage. This bold step not only empowers students with cognitive advantages but also nurtures a deeper connection to their roots.”
Tania Joshi, principal of The Indian School in Delhi, said that the use of Indian Languages as a medium of instruction will facilitate learning, but it must be done carefully. “You cannot explain everything in the local language which is Hindi in Delhi. Even teachers won’t know some terminologies. We will need to properly train teachers in different Indian languages to facilitate teaching in those languages,” she said.