CBSE schools can now teach in local languages

CBSE issues circular regarding Multilingual Education and using mother tongue as a medium of instruction from pre-primary classes to class 12 in all CBSE affiliated schools.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has written to all its affiliated schools stating that they may consider using Indian languages as an optional medium of instruction in addition to other existing options.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has announced that it will conduct board examinations for classes X and XII in 2024 from February 15 onwards.

Appreciating CBSE for encouraging its affiliated schools to use Indian languages (mother tongue) as a medium of instruction and adapting multilingual education, in line with the vision of National Education Policy, 2020. This provides a significant cognitive advantage to young learners when they are exposed to multiple languages, with a specific focus on mother tongue.

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CBSE Schools Can Now Teach In Regional Languages Like State Boards

Multilingual Education and using mother tongue as a medium of instruction. CBSE schools can now teach in local languages.

Multilingual education has been widely recognized as a valuable approach to fostering linguistic diversity. cultural understanding, and academic success among students. The National Education Policy 2020, in paragraph 4.12, emphasizes the significant cognitive advantages of multilingualism for young learners, particularly when they are exposed to multiple languages from foundational stage, with a specific focus on their mother tongue. The policy strongly advocates for utilizing the home language, mother tongue, local language, or regional language as the medium of instruction whenever feasible, at least until Grade 5, but preferably extending till Grade 8 and beyond.

The implementation of multilingual education and the utilization of the mother tongue as a medium of instruction present several challenges including the availability of skilled teachers capable of teaching in multilingual settings, the creation of high-quality multilingual textbooks, and the limited time available, especially in two-shift government schools, as multilingual education demands additional instructional Sime allocation.

In view of above challenges, the Ministry of Education, Government of India has taken several measures to actualize education through Indian languages medium on ground. One of the major steps taken now is the direction by the Ministry of Education to NCERT for preparing new textbooks through 22 scheduled Indian languages. The NCERT has taken this serious task on highest priority so that textbooks in 22 scheduled languages can be made available to all students from next sessions.

Higher Education has also started gearing up to produce textbooks through Indian languages, and initiate learning-teaching process through Indian language mediums in addition to English medium, and to conduct examination through Indian languages as well. The textbooks in technical education, medical education, vocational education, skill education, law education, etc, are now coming through Indian languages.

Since higher education has started responding to this need then school education has to become its foundation. The approach towards medium of instruction should be a continuity from school education to higher education. Therefore, the schools affiliated to CBSE need to play a vital role in this great endeavour by offering education through Indian languages.

In view of the above initiatives taken to facilitate education through Indian languages, the CBSE affiliated schools may consider using Indian languages, as enumerated in the Schedule 8 of the Indian Constitution, as the medium of Instruction from Foundational Stage till end of Secondary Stage Le. from pre-primary classes till class Xll as an optional medium in addition to other existing options. Schools may explore the available resources, consult with experts in the field, and collaborate with other schools to share best practices to make multilingual education in CBSE schools a reality.

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