Days after the draft version of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 caused a massive uproar for making the study of Hindi mandatory in non-Hindi speaking states, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has released a revised draft, removing the requirement. The revision to the draft comes after politicians and citizens across the country— especially in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka— slammed the draft for imposing Hindi upon states, in an alleged attempt to ‘homogenise’ the diverse linguistic fabric country.
The revised draft states, “In keeping with the principle of flexibility, students who wish to change one or more of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6 or Grade 7, so long as they are able to still demonstrate proficiency in three languages (one language at the literature level) in their modular Board Examinations some time during secondary school (see P4.9.5).”
The revised draft does not mandate which specific languages students must study in middle school. However, the revised draft still advocates for the three-language formula, stating that it needs to be 'implemented in its spirit throughout the country, promoting multilingual communicative abilities for a multilingual country.'
The original draft stated, “In keeping with the principle of flexibility, students who wish to change one of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6, so long as the study of three languages by students in the Hindi-speaking states would continue to include Hindi and English and one of the modern Indian languages from other parts of India, while the study of languages by students in the non-Hindi-speaking states would include the regional language, Hindi and English.”
The original draft required students from non-Hindi speaking states to study Hindi and English in addition to their regional language.
Soon after the draft notification caused a furore, the MHRD issued a clarification stating that the document was merely a draft. “It is not the Policy announced by Government. After getting feedback from general public, and after consulting State Governments, the National Education Policy will be finalised by Government.” (sic) stated the MHRD clarification. Newly-appointed Union Ministers like Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar were roped into clarifying that the government was still seeking feedback with the leaders tweeting about it in Tamil.
Meanwhile the DMK passed a resolution on Monday against the imposition of Hindi in Tamil Nadu. Don't play with Tamils in the name of the three-language formula, the resolution reportedly stated. It also resolved to strongly oppose any threat to the two language formula in the state.