Batting for mother tongue and regional language, Union Minister for Education Dharmendra Pradhan stressed that language cannot be an area of controversy or a barrier.
He was speaking after releasing the mandate document of the National Curricular Framework (NCF) here on Friday.
The Union Minister’s statement assumes significance, given the ongoing debate on “national language”. “Those who want to do politics about language, my wishes to them,” he said.
Mr. Pradhan said that the NCF committee has recommended mother tongue and local language. “As an Education Minister, I admit candidly that I formulate my thoughts in Odia, translate it into Hindi and communicate it in English... this is the criticality of the area; language should not create an artificial barrier. We should create an ecosystem for innovative, critical thinking in a child,” he said.
He also pointed out that both Japan and Germany were not dependent on English and emphasised on their own languages.
Hailing the mandate document, he said it was time to decolonise the education system and added that the documents should be the instrument of tranformational change in livelihoods and dignity of people. The current education system is certificate and degree centric and linked to social prestige, he pointed out, adding that skilling, vocational education and knowledge is not properly evaluated. “The National Education Policy has recommended the link between education and skill,” he said.
K. Kasturirangan, chairman of the National Steering Committee for NCF, said the mandate document was an important milestone in defining the school education of the future. For the first time, early childhood care education and adult education have been included in the curricular framework.
“We need to provide flexibility, coherence and integration, and a common platform in which whatever you want to learn in school education are brought together, seen in totality and then segmented according to the needs of a particular stage. That is precisely what we have done in the mandate document,” he said.
Dr. Kasturirangan also said that the mandate document would lead to an education system at the school level which will stand the test of time and also respond to changing dynamics of the knowledge spectrum.
Manjul Bhargava, member of the National Steering Committee, NCF and chairperson of the mandate committee, and Anita Karwal, secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education, spoke about the different aspects of the mandate document.