NEW DELHI: In a major move to promote multilingual school education, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has allowed schools to offer education in Indian languages from pre-primary to Class XII. Currently in majority of the CBSE-affiliated schools, the medium of instruction is English and in some, education is imparted in Hindi.

The National Education Policy 2020 advocates use of home language, mother tongue, local language or regional language as the medium of instruction across various levels of education. According to CBSE, the education ministry has directed National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) to prepare new textbooks in 22 scheduled Indian languages and these will be made available from the 2024-25 academic session.
In a circular to schools on Friday, the Board said multilingual education has been widely recognised as a valuable approach to fostering linguistic diversity, cultural understanding and academic success of students. It said, “CBSE-affiliated schools may consider using Indian languages as the medium of instruction from foundational stage till end of secondary stage (from pre-primary to Class XII) as an optional medium in addition to other existing options.”

The board cited NEP 2020 which emphasised on the cognitive advantages of multilingualism for young learners.
The board underscored the challenges such as availability of skilled teachers capable of teaching in multilingual settings, creation of multilingual textbooks and the limited time available. Joseph Emmanuel, director (academics), said the Centre has initiated steps to promote education through Indian languages.
On CBSE’s decision, education minister Dharmendra Pradhan tweeted, “Well-done @cbseindia29. This is a laudatory step towards encouraging education in mother tongue and Indian languages in schools.”

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