GS2: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


What is the issue?

  • Subsequent to the submission of the draft National Education Policy 2019, there were protests against the three language formula.
  • The controversial provision was thus revised by Dr. Kasturirangan-led committee that submitted it.


  • Education plays a pivotal role in the social life of Indian society since its inception.
  • In ancient India, religion played a vital role in spreading and deciding education in the society.
  • Modern education in India was introduced by British in 18th Macaulay minutes and Wood’s Despatch gave further impetus to the modern education in India.
  • After independence, Radhakrishnan commission, in 1948 appointed to study about the University education.
  • The D.S. Kothari Education Commission was appointed to deal with all aspects and sectors of education and to advise Government on the evolution of a National System in of Education for the country.
  • Based on this Commission’s report, the National Policy on Education 1968 was formulated.
  • Major recommendations such as 10+2+3 Pattern, Use of regional language, Education for the people and The Common School System.

Major proposals in old and new policies

  • Earlier provision – Students who wish to change one of the three languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6.
  • But this is only as long as the study of 3 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.
  • Likewise, study of languages by students in the non-Hindi-speaking states would include the regional language, Hindi and English.
  • New change – Students who wish to change one or more of the 3 languages they are studying may do so in Grade 6 or Grade 7.
  • This is only as long as they are able to still demonstrate proficiency in three languages (one language at the literature level).
  • This will be as per their modular Board Examinations held sometime during secondary school.


Issues persisting in the primary education

  • The draft NEP acknowledges a “severe learning crisis” in India, where children in primary school fail to attain basic math and reading skills.
  • A large number of children currently in elementary school — perhaps over 5 crore — cannot read and understand basic text and solve simple addition and subtraction problems, the report states. Many of them eventually drop out.
  • Attributing a major part of this crisis to a “tragic deficiency” in early childhood care and education (ECCE) of children in the age group 3-6 years.
  • The draft recommends that early childhood care and education (ECCE) be made an integral part of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
  • To ensure continuity from pre-primary to primary schools, the draft advocates bringing all aspects of ECCE under the purview of the Human Resource Development Ministry.

Major recommendations of the Draft policy

  • While the 1986 education policy push for a uniform 10+2 structure, the 2018 draft pitches for reconfiguration of curriculum and pedagogy in a “5+3+3+4” design.
  • It also recognises different stages of development of cognitive abilities in children.
  • This corresponds to the age groups 3-8 years (foundational stage), 8-11 (preparatory stage), 11-14 (middle stage), and 14-18 (secondary stage).
  • Redesigning of school curriculum for Grades 1 to 5 to include dedicated mathematics and reading hours every day.
  • In addition to that, activities that relate classroom maths to real-life maths, weekly puzzle-solving sessions to inculcate logical thinking, and language and maths-focused morning assemblies.
  • A ‘National Tutors Programme’ that will enrol the best performers of each school for up to five hours a week as tutors for students who have fallen behind.
  • A ‘Remedial Instructional Aides Programme’ to draw instructors from the
  • Local community to hold remedial classes during schools hours, after school hours and during summer vacations for students who need help.
  • A school preparation module to be prepared by NCERT for all Grade 1 students to ensure they have the required learning levels (letters, shapes, colours, numbers) before starting the Grade 1 syllabus.
  • Vacancies to be filled urgently to ensure a pupil-teacher ratio of 30:1.
  • A nutritious breakfast, in addition to the midday meal, for improved learning.

 Persisting contentions

  • As per the earlier version, the committee stipulated the languages that students must choose to study from Grade 6.
  • In the revised draft, the committee has merely omitted the references to the language that students may choose.
  • However, the broader recommendation regarding the implementation of a three-language formula remains.
  • In other words, the revised draft retains the recommendation to introduce a three-language formula from Class 1 onwards.
  • It simply removes the clause stipulating the specific languages that students must choose in Grade 6.
  • Also, the revision was not done by the Central government but by the committee that drafted the policy.

Centre’s rationale on the issue

  • The draft policy’s push for Hindi seems to be based on the premise that 54% of Indians speak Hindi.
  • However, according to the 2001 Census, 52 crore out of 121 crore people identified Hindi as their language.
  • About 32 crore people declared Hindi as their mother tongue.
  • This means that Hindi is the language of less than 44% Indians and mother tongue of only little over 25% people in India.
  • But there has been greater push for making Hindi a pan-India language, which is seen as imposition of Hindi by many states, especially that of the South India.

Evolution of Hindi as an official language

  • Constituent Assembly – The debate over Hindi has been raging since Independence.
  • The Constituent Assembly witnessed heated exchanges over the use and scope of Hindi.
  • The Sub-Committee on Fundamental Rights of the Constituent Assembly recommended the following:
  • Hindustani, written either in Devanagari or the Persian script at the option of the citizen, shall, as the national language, be the first official language of the Union.
  • English shall be the second official language for such period as the Union may, by law, determine.
  • Constitution – Article 343 of the Constitution prescribes Hindi as written in Devanagari script as the official language of the government along with English for 15 years initially.
  • However, it has been extended subsequently without any scientific considerations.
  • Clearly, the Constitution did not declare Hindi as the ‘national language’.
  • It rather accorded Hindi the status of ‘official language’ along with English.

Way forward

  • Language is primarily a utilitarian tool than a political plank.
  • While acquisition of additional tools can indeed be beneficial, compulsory learning should be limited to one’s mother tongue.
  • Besides, English, as the language that provides access to global knowledge and as a link language within India, could be a supportive language.
  • Given this, not everyone is satisfied by the changes, and the three-language formula itself is seen as an unnecessary imposition.

# Practice Question

  1. What are the challenges faced by the education sector in India? Do you think the present educational policies are capable enough to address these challenges? (250 Words)
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