Gujarati to be taught mandatorily in Gujarat schools

The announcement came after a remark from Gujarat High Court which sought a law to make Gujarati compulsory in all schools as a way to preserve the mother tongue

February 22, 2023 01:38 pm | Updated 09:51 pm IST - AHMEDABAD

Gujarat Assembly building at Gandhinagar. File

Gujarat Assembly building at Gandhinagar. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Gujarat government plans to enact a law to make Gujarati language compulsory in schools for Classes 1 to 8.

The government will introduce a Bill in the State Assembly on February 28, Cabinet Minister and State Government spokesperson Rushikesh Patel said on February 22.

The government’s announcement came after a remark from the Gujarat High Court which sought a law to make Gujarati compulsory in all schools as a way to preserve the mother tongue.

Hearing a PIL, a Bench of Chief Justice Sonia Gokani and Justice Sandeep Bhatt said there was no regulatory framework around teaching Gujarati in schools, particularly private schools where the medium of instruction was English.

The court urged the State government to enact a law for compulsory teaching of local languages in schools, similar to what other States had done.

The Bench also said penal action against schools could be considered a way of implementation.

In 2018, the government introduced the policy of mandatorily teaching the local language in Gujarat Board schools or schools affiliated with the Central Boards. The State government in a submission noted that 23 schools did not teach Gujarati, whereas 13 did not teach the language as a compulsory subject.

No Gujarati for primary

During the course of hearing in the court, the petitioner had pointed out that primary schools, especially those affiliated with the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education), the ICSE (Indian Certificate of Secondary Education) and the IB boards, were not offering Gujarati as a subject in the curriculum despite there being a policy in place.

The court had also remarked that if the schools were wanted to operate in the State, they needed to teach the local language as a subject from the primary level.

In 2018, then Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama had told the Assembly that irrespective of the Board they were affiliated to, including the CBSE, the ICSE, the IB, the CISEC or the IGCSE, teaching Gujarati would be mandatory for every school in the State.

“To familiarise the students of the State with Gujarati language, the government has decided to make it a mandatory subject in Classes 1 to 8,” he had told the House.

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