ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Why Three Languages

The so-called three-language formula, which determines what languages shall be compulsorily taught to children in schools, was thought up by the Central Advisory Board of Education way back in 1956.

The so-called three-language formula, which determines what languages shall be compulsorily taught to children in schools, was thought up by the Central Advisory Board of Education way back in 1956. It became a part of the dogma on school education with its endorsement by the Conference of Chief Ministers in 1961, Even though — and this is common knowledge — universal acceptance has not meant enforcement, it was still startling to read the Education Minister's statement, made rather off-handedly at an informal meeting with newsmen in Ahmedabad, that he was opposed to the formula. But in fact the Minister's view should not cause surprise considering that he was a member of the Education Commission which has, in its report, picked holes in the formula and recommended modifications in it, To be sure, the changes suggested by the Commission are far from revolutionary, Finding that students in the Hindi areas have no motivation for learning a modem Indian language in addition to Hindi and English, as required by the three language formula, it has suggested that this additional language should be taught for three years, in Classes VIII to XI, instead of for five years.

This concession has been balanced by giving students in the non-Hindi areas a choice between learning one of the two languages, English and Hindi, for six years from Class V to X, and the other for three years from Classes VIII to X. Since students in non-Hindi areas are bound to choose English for longer study, this amounts to a cut in the period of study of Hindi to three years.

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